Blogging isn’t always about money, but when it is, you have to know what you’re doing to avoid getting burned. Too many people go into blogging with the wrong idea about how they are going to convert traffic into profit, costing them time and effort.
You don’t want that happening to you.
So, if you’re ready, let’s take a look at some of the ways through which bloggers are actually making money.
Now, there are generally 5 ways to generate income through your blog. There are more, but most of them are so specialized that very few people can even understand them, let alone make money from them. For the rest of us, the following are simply the most practical options:
- Selling products (physical/digital)
- Affiliate Marketing
- Offering skills and services
A lot of the biggest blogs in the market rely on a combination of some of these options to make money, and only a few go with all four. Focusing on just one can yield substantial results, with some earning $100/month like Jon Morrow over at Smart Blogger.
The more successful examples of blogs and bloggers can earn millions per year, but they didn’t get there overnight. All of them put in up to 100 hours a week into their blogs when they started. Once their sites took off, though, the workload gradually lessened.
Selling products is one of the most profitable among the items listed above, but it’s also one of the hardest to monetize. You’re going to need to do a few things before you start making enough money to live on when you sell stuff online. Fortunately, the following steps are simple enough in principle:
- Create excellent content
- Compile a huge subscriber e-mail list
- Send e-mails with quality content to subscribers
- Sell products
Now, the topic of creating excellent content is so varied, deep and complex that it deserves its own article. For now, you just have to remember that content is the lifeblood of a blog. It has to be written well, with few to no grammatical errors. It should also be informative and unique, and should be constructed in an engaging manner.
The content will then allow you to build up a list of subscribers, whose e-mails you will use to send newsletters. Within those newsletters are contents that should be useful to the audience that you are catering to, which will then allow you to earn their trust over time.
Finally, once you’ve spent enough time convincing readers that you are someone worth trusting, you can sell your products. Now, bear in mind that this last part isn’t going to work if your product isn’t worth buying, is irrelevant to your readers or is absurdly overpriced.
There’s also the matter of the type of product you are selling to keep in mind. Digital products like e-books, videos, music, instructional audio files, and so on are MUCH easier to sell than physical products. This is mostly because there is no inventory limit or cost.
However, physical products do offer the potential for extremely high return of investment in the long-run. They can generate more income via repeat customers and they also present plenty of variety when it comes to demonstrations.
Take both scenarios into consideration before deciding. Once you make up your mind, it will cost you time and effort if you change it later on.
Advertising is usually the option that new or non-bloggers think of when wondering how people make money off of blogs. While it’s true that a lot of blogs and websites do make money through advertising, not all of them do. In fact, depending on your niche, ads can actually hurt your business more than help it. Keep that in mind.
Having said all that, ads are also the easiest and simplest way to make money when blogging. The most common kind of ads on blogs are Display Ads, which are basically the moving banners that are placed all over the page of a websites. The most common way to earn money with ads is via Pay Per Click as well, where you literally get paid a certain amount every time someone clicks on the ad.
Ads can display just about anything, from supplements to TV shows. So, if nothing else, they offer a significant level of variety.
There are also pop-up ads, video ads, and audio ads, though these are a lot less common than banner ads. If you’re wondering how you’re going to get these ads, there are ad networks that you can apply for.
Google AdSense is one of the most well-known of these ad networks and getting ads from them is usually really easy. However, other companies can be really picky and will only accept those that meet their standards.
As an affiliate marketer, you’re basically selling the products and services of someone else and earning commission whenever a conversion is made. There are several kinds of affiliate marketing models, but the important thing to bear in mind is that you can have as many partners using this model as you are physically able to accommodate.
So, how exactly will this type of income generation work? For starters, you need to find a business who is interested in partnering with you to recommend or feature their products or services on your blog. By doing so, you become their partner or affiliate, as the label implies.
Once you have done so, you will need to market or promote their products or services to your visitors. This can be done in several ways, but the most common would have to be the following:
- Dedicate a full piece about it
- Receive a video or audio file from them and post it
- Talking about it on your newsletter
- Promoting it on social media
By doing any or all of the above, you are prompting your followers to check out the products or services on offer. Every time a sale is made through the links you provided, you get earn a commission. You will then get your accumulated commission at the pre-determined time you arranged with the seller.
For some of the biggest blogs out there, affiliate marketing is actually their biggest source of income. Take ProBlogger’s July income breakdown for example, where affiliate commissions make up 46% of their total revenue. Play your cards right as an affiliate and you could be looking at an easy ride to lucrative blogging.
Offering Skills And Services
As a blogger, and a proven excellent one at that, you have already showcased a certain level of skill. Depending on the niche you have chosen or the area you are writing about, you might have displayed working knowledge of complicated topics. If you have created some really good content that got a substantial amount of traffic, you’re abilities as a writer or content creator would have already shone through.
Taking one or all of these cases into consideration, you might having something to offer that others are looking for. A lot of them are also willing to pay good money for someone of your skill, if you so choose to take them up on their offer.
For example, if you are blogging about current affairs, there are a lot of publications that would be willing to pay freelancers to cover certain topics for them. If you’re an excellent writer, some companies are also looking for people who can create Press Releases, blurbs, reviews and so on. Talented video editors are also valuable commodities for businesses that rely on visual elements to attract customers.
The point is that you are using your blog to market your skills, which you will then offer in exchange for payment. This isn’t something that a lot of would-be bloggers even consider, let alone take advantage of. However, it has proven extremely lucrative for many established figures in the blogging scene.
So there you have it. Four of the most common ways that bloggers make money off something that started out as a way for people to write about their hobbies, interests and feelings. Even now, the title “blogger” still carries a rather dismissive connotation. It doesn’t elicit the same reaction from people as those who are called “writers” or “journalists” do.
However, even with this being the case, bloggers have the potential to earn just as much or more than most writers or journalists. Heck, bloggers can even earn more than what the president of the U.S. is getting paid. It’s just a matter of choosing the right course for your blog and the right method that suits your abilities.
More than that, it also helps if you diversify your sources of income. Combine two or three of the options provided above. You could even choose to go with all four if you want, though you have to be prepared to really invest some serious work. We’re talking about 14-hour work days here, 7 days a week. Once you start earning six-digit income every month, though, you will realize that everything you have done was worth it and your hard work paid off.