Blogging has become an incredibly lucrative business thanks to the advent of internet advertising and promotion campaigns. You can turn blogging into seven-figure salary businesses if you know what you’re doing, and you can do it in the comfort of your own home. For all the flak that bloggers get for churning out horrible re-written content that doesn’t have much value, there’s no doubt that it can be a profitable business venture if you know how to make it work.
In this brief guide, we’ll be exploring some of the main ways you can monetise your blog. Whether you’re a novice writer or an experienced blogger that’s having a hard time making money from their hard work, this guide is for you.
Anyone can start, few succeed
First, you need to understand that a very small percentage of blogs will actually become profitable, let alone make you a seven-figure salary. Blogging is a business that anyone can start, but it’s also extremely difficult to turn into a profit without a lot of hard work and dedication. This is because blogging income relies almost exclusively on your reputation and your audience, both of which take a considerable amount of time to build and there aren’t many ways to invest money in order to speed up that process. In a sense, blogging is perhaps one of the slowest businesses to get started, but it’s certainly a profitable and fun one should you be able to break into the industry.
Picking a topic
One of the problems with blogging as a business is your content. If you start a blog about something popular, then you can get a lot of views and it has the potential to become a profitable venture, but you’re going to be dwarfed by other businesses and bloggers who have been writing about popular subjects for a much longer time. This is another reason why it’s difficult to get started with a blogging business.
The best topics to pick are profitable ones that are trendy and relevant. Websites such as Google Trends are perfect for discovering what search terms are currently trending. There are plenty of graphs that show the popularity of various search terms and if they are currently growing or declining in popularity. This can help you greatly when picking a popular topic to write about, but this isn’t a representation of how much money you will get from advertising.
Pay per click is the most popular method of advertising for businesses. They pay websites a set amount every time someone clicks their links, and the price varies depending on how much each company is willing to pay. For instance, the search term “3D printing” could be worth more per click than a general term such as “music”. The more niche your subject is, the more businesses are willing to pay for each click. There are tools such as WordStream that offer analytical services to see how much businesses are willing to pay for their advertising. However, it’s not free so you may want to consider if the investment is worth it.
Alternatively, you could just pick a topic that you are passionate about. Picking a subject that you know about is arguably the best way to grow a blog because you already know a lot about it, you can create unique and original articles, and you don’t have to worry about studying a specific field just because it’s profitable and you don’t have to hire writers either. The more comfortable you are with your writing, the easier it will be to churn out fun and original content that will gain traction and build up a reader base.
Promoting your blog
Once you’ve decided a topic, it’s time to start thinking about how you should go about advertising your blog. Unlike traditional businesses, paying for advertising and promotional campaigns isn’t as effective as slowly building up a reputation with social media and optimising your website for exposure.
The first thing to get in order is optimisation. A website needs to be discoverable and the only way to do that is to optimising it so that search engines have an easier time finding it, but also to be higher in search rankings. There are some basic SEO principles that every aspiring blogger should understand. For starters, you need to create original content and write about things in your own style. Copying other articles word for word or stealing different formats doesn’t sit well with Google and you run the risk of being blacklisted.
You also need to remain consistent with your topics. If you start changing your theme on a regular basis or swapping website designs, then Google lowers your ranking temporarily as a defensive measure against people who abuse their search algorithms. This means you need to focus on specific subjects and specialise in them instead of posting random blogs about various topics in an attempt to attract a wider audience. For example, if you start writing a blog about video games, then you don’t want to suddenly write a review about your favourite musical artists unless it has something to do with video games.
Handling search engine optimisation on your own can be troublesome and time-consuming which is why services such as Digitalico.com exist. Many third-party companies can help you with SEO if you’re unsure about the basic strategies or if you simply don’t have time to work on it yourself. However, this is going to become an expensive investment over time, so make sure you count this into your budget.
Now we get to the juicy part—actually making a profit.
The first method people use to monetize their blogs is to place advertisements on their website. Services such as Google AdWords pay you for every click and the number of impressions (views) that your adverts get. The amount you’re paid depends on how popular the keywords are or how much the client is willing to pay for advertising. The income from advertising is low until you start to get thousands of readers, so it’s a slow process but it’s guaranteed income as long as you have people visiting your website.
The second method is to use affiliate links. When you write a review for a product, it’s customary to place a link where the reader can buy it or look for more information. Most of the time, these will link to a website such as Amazon or a specific store, but you can actually sign up for an affiliate marketing program and get Amazon to pay you a cut whenever someone buys a product through your links. The cut is usually a couple of percent and you can’t use underhanded methods to get people to click those links. There are many rules and regulations involved, but it’s a great way to get additional income if you do regular products reviews.
Thirdly, you can do paid sponsorships. Some companies will approach you with an idea if you have a lot of viewers. They will usually ask you to advertise one of their products or services on your website and they’ll pay you for your time. You have to disclose that you’re working with the company or else it could open you up to a lot of criticism and hate, and it’s not really an option for aspiring bloggers but instead, a way to get some extra money if you already have a popular blog.
Lastly, we have crowdfunding. People all over the world are more than willing to pay for content they enjoy, and thanks to services such as Patreon, it’s now possible for people to pay you for your creative work. You sign up for a Patreon account, set up a page, and then you can link to it on your blog and tell people that if they want to support you, they can do so by registering for a monthly subscription. What you give them in return is up to you (you don’t have to give anything if you don’t want to) and you can set the pricing.