Most beginner bloggers don’t know where to start with their blogs and don’t even know the ways they can monetize their blogs. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how you can start making money from your blog, let’s look at some stats.
Did you know that Tumblr’s cumulative total number of blogs from May 2011 to July 2018 is a whopping 425 million blog accounts? And that’s just Tumblr! There are countless other blogging websites on the internet that people from all across the globe are using.
So how do you set yourself apart from the millions of other bloggers out there and monetize your blog? It’s not easy…but with the right tools, skills, knowledge (and maybe even a little bit of luck), you can make decent money from your blog.
Just like any other business, blogging can earn you some good cash flow — if done the right way.
The Professional Blogger
Despite the lure of an easy lifestyle (and claims of unscrupulous Internet marketers), you can’t expect to just start a blog, post a few ads and watch the money roll in. If you really want to go pro, you must be willing to work hard, invest in training and stick it out for the long haul — expect to wait a year or more before you can attract enough traffic to monetize your blog.
How much you’ll ultimately earn and how quickly you’ll turn a profit will depend on the quality of your content, your market niche, how often you blog and, most importantly, how effective you are at promoting and monetizing your site.
There’s one more important consideration to factor into the profitability equation: Even if you don’t earn anything from advertising or sponsorship revenues on your blog, you might earn a very good income because of your blog.
Here’s why: You can use your blog as a platform to build your brand, which in turn leads to a greater likelihood of people buying your products and services. Successful bloggers, I heard, often monetize their blogs by attracting consulting and speaking gigs, sales of digital products, freelance work, book deals and even job offers.
So yes, it’s possible, to earn a living as a blogger for the patient and industrious.
That leads me to my second question: What’s the best way to get started?
5 Tips For Profitable Blogging
While there really is no one best way, here are five helpful tips about launching a blog and earning money from one that I took away from the conference:
1. Blog on a topic you are passionate about. I know that sounds painfully obvious. But multiple speakers emphasized the importance of choosing a topic you can see yourself writing about day after day, for years to come.
Most bloggers post at least several times a week and many post every day to continually build traffic. How often you’ll blog is up to you. “Do what feels right, what comes naturally,” said David Leite, creator of the cooking blog, LeitesCulinaria.com. “Start with your passion.”
Another panelist, Kat Kinsman, founder of TastingTable.com, emphasized the importance of having an authentic voice to distinguish your blog from the competition. She asked, “What is the story that only you can tell?”
2. Target underserved, but profitable, niches. One of the best ways to stand out from the masses and monetize a blog is to write about something people are interested in, but that other media outlets generally ignore.
For example, Erica Tannen, a former retail executive and founder of The-e-list.com, describes her site as “an excruciatingly opinionated guide to the Connecticut shoreline and best Connecticut shopping.” The hyper-local blog, which now has over 16,000 free e-newsletter subscribers (the money comes from ad revenues) and 74,000 monthly page views, includes reviews of restaurants, shops and tourist attractions, as well as notifications about sales and events.
“It took me a few years to make any money at all, but it’s been great the last two,” Tannen said, adding that her blog now grosses “above six-figures.”
Says Tannen: “My ads completely sell out because I have such a targeted audience: women over 35 with annual incomes over 150K.”
She works full-time and currently has three part-time mom employees (each working about 20 hours a week) plus two interns. “I, of course, love it,” she said, “but am slightly exhausted by the frenetic pace and weekly deadline and am hoping to sell the thing in a year or so!”
3. Hone your photography and social media skills. In the past few years, blogging has become an increasingly visual medium. Consequently, visual social platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Vine are driving traffic to blogs. As a result, bloggers need to learn and develop strong photography, image editing and social media skills.
For assistance learning these skills, you might want to try sites such as Lynda.com, where you’ll find video tutorials on a wide range of topics including photo editing and video production. Membership starts at $25 a month; in some communities, you can access Lynda.com for free through your local library.
Alternatively, many community colleges and continuing education programs offer classes in social media and photography.
4. Get connected to other bloggers. Although blogging can feel isolating, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, the number of bloggers who clearly knew one another at this event surprised me. So look for ways to create informal virtual alliances with other bloggers with whom you can share content, cross-promote and offer support.
This can prove financially beneficial for all involved, and is a nice way to combat the loneliness of the home-based blogger.
5. Invest in up-to-date training. The blogging landscape is continually evolving. When I attended BlogHer three years ago, sites like Pinterest and Instagram were just getting rolling. At this year’s event, there were multiple sessions devoted to learning about many types of social media sites.
Like any profession, and blogging is a profession, it’s critical to invest in professional training to keep your skills sharp and current as well as to learn about the latest options for monetization.
Fortunately, there are many resources available to help. In addition to the BlogHer events and site, some of my personal favorites for learning tips on writing compelling content, marketing and monetizing are Fizzle.com, MichaelHyatt.com and Problogger.net. All three provide lots of free advice (and more in-depth training and support is available for a fee).
Are you monetizing your blog now? What methods are using and how is it working out for you?