Make Money From Blogging!
You would think that putting up stories and pictures online would just be a digital scrapbook. How could that make money?
Just how do bloggers make money anyway?
Maybe you’ve heard that YouTubers are making thousands of dollars a month from views on their videos and wondered if blogging worked in a similar way. The short answer is yes.
5 Ways to Make Money Blogging:
- Products (digital or physical)
Remember when every sidebar had random ads in it? You can still give permission to Google to put ads into your blog for compensation. It doesn’t end up being very much unless you have a pretty big following. But do you know what you won’t have if you have ads all over your blog? A large following – people will leave if they feel like they are being advertised to (or advertised at) instead of being informed or entertained.
Sponsorships are a bit like advertising with legs. Instead of putting up a picture with some compelling text on your blog, you add a mention about (or a review of) a physical or virtual product in your writing with a link to the product or site. The important thing is that you do your mentions with integrity (aka don’t recommend products that you really don’t like and keep it relevant for your audience).
It’s nice to mention that you have a relationship with the brand mentioned, but if the recommendation is sincere, I really believe that it shouldn’t matter.
The reason affiliate marketing is so common (and so lucrative) is because there’s little risk incurred by either party. Unlike an advertiser or sponsor, affiliates don’t give you any money unless you make a sale.
Its biggest benefit, however, can be its biggest drawback. Because so many factors related to conversion (getting blog readers to buy your affiliate’s product) are out of your control, you could spend lots of time, effort and goodwill with your readers trying to promote products that they just don’t want.
If you think you’d like to explore how to make money blogging through affiliates, do your best to pick a few strong affiliate candidates with high fees (I try to do 30% or higher). For more reading on affiliates, try this.
Selling physical or virtual products
If all these relationships you established above pay you as a blogger, you might think they are making more money than you are selling their products. This might be true, but selling products is a whole new level of responsibility. You are no longer a storyteller/ product promoter, but an actual shopkeeper (even if it is a virtual shop). This means you have to manage shipping, inventory, etc.
You’ll also have to be available to answer customer service questions for your customers. And you might have to deal with one of the most offered- and most dreaded transaction in business- the product return.
If you have products that you love, and see it as a way to supplement your income, it might be a good thing. But if you are really into selling products, get an Etsy shop and move on!
It seems like Wikipedia has popups every few months asking for a $3 donation- reminding you that Wikipedia is 100% free resource for the public. It’s a lot like public radio or tv stations having an annual fundraising drive, reminding users of the value they are receiving and asking them to donate to support your work.
There’s a site called Patreon where many performing artists, podcasters and bloggers use to collect donations and subscriptions to offerings that they create. Some of them create special products just for their supporters or offer early access to blogs/ podcasts/ performances/ artwork.
You don’t need to connect with that community of creators – although you might find some valuable partnerships there- you could just add a button to your blog.
Relying on donations is pretty unreliable- as people are easily distracted. That’s why a subscription service like Patreon is so valuable. If you use the link in this text, you will get $50 if you get a certain # of subscribers in your first month. See Patreon for details. Full disclosure – I don’t get anything from this!!!
My guess is, though, that you want to learn how to start a blog and make money fairly quickly.
For that, building your audience before you monetize is not the best option.
Build an audience AND your money-maker at the SAME time
Why does it have to be either / or?
You might think that quantity is going to be what brings money in. It’s an important factor but you don’t need 100,000+ readers before you start making some money.
Grow your fans and lookie-loos!
There’s an exercise that startups use for branding all of the time called “buyer personas”. You think about who you are trying to connect with, who you are bringing value to and taylor your advertising to their lifestyle and their needs.
Look at blogs that have the same buyer personas / target audience as you and see what they are doing. Does it resonate with you? Does it seem genuine? Try something similar for 3 months and then re-assess.
There’s an important assumption here – that you UNDERSTAND your target audience members. Ask yourself, do you actually understand them? If they are not a group that you personally are part of, find some advisors! Don’t waste your time with assumptions about a groups needs and lifestyles!
Don’t waste all your time on social!!! It’s just part of the equation!!! Definitely go and claim your name on all the big platforms but only pick a maximum of 3 networks to maintain- and pick them based on the lifestyle/needs of your target audience. Use a tool like Hootsuite so you don’t get too scattered. Write a blog post on Monday, Tweet it out on Tuesday (with a link to the post), create an image on Wednesday and post it on Pinterest (including a link to post) and then tweet about it on Friday! Just like in high school, try to make your work relevant to more than just one class!!! 🙂
Have Your Site Set but want to learn more about marketing?
I HIGHLY recommend JessieOnAJourney and Nomadic Matt’s travel blogging courses!