Blogging has been a hot business concept for a few years now, but most bloggers blogging for income are still baffled about how to make serious money. “Is it even possible to make a real income blogging?” you might be wondering. It is.
My Background in Blogging
I’m not at the point where I would call myself a “professional blogger” just yet (although I hope to be in the foreseeable future). Even so, I’ve done fairly well with my blogs, bringing my “big three” to decent income levels at various times ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month. I’m working to bring them all back to those levels (including some newer ones – around a dozen blogs in all).
The key (and where I sometimes struggle) is consistency.What I’ve found personally is that your consistency in your blogging can have more of an impact on your earnings than your SEO or even monetization streams (although I’ll readily admit this can vary depending on the type of blog you’re running – mine were all launched with the intention of creating so-called “authority sites,” so repeat traffic is my most valuable asset).
Revenue Streams for Bloggers
Speaking of revenue streams (how you can actually monetize your blog), here are some common examples that can be used or combined into an overall monetization strategy:
- Network ads (Google Adsense, Chitika, etc.)
- Affiliate ads (Amazon, Clickbank, Commission Junction, etc.)
- Donations (through Paypal or similar services)
- RSS feed ads (through Feedburner or other services)
- Digital Products (e-books, reports, software related to your blog niche, etc.)
- Teaching / Services (paid webinars, offering services related to your blog niche, etc.)
The Reality of High Income Blogging
Plenty of people make far more money than I do blogging. Plenty of people also make far less (and almost nothing). Pro blogger Darren Rowse did an interesting casual study in 2007 on what real bloggers are earning (many simply aren’t). (Read his findings.) Should you be discouraged by the fact that a lot of people make next to no money from their blogs? I don’t think so. Here’s why:
- Not all bloggers are really “in it for the money.” Earning may just be an added benefit, so many bloggers may simply not be optimizing their revenue streams (because they simply don’t care).
- A lot of bloggers are new, and still learning the ropes of monetizing their blogs. Like in any kind of business model, it can take time (one of my blogs became my highest earner in just three months, while another wasn’t earning significantly for over a year, as an example).
- Frankly, not all bloggers know how to effectively market their sites. If they can’t market the blog, or offer something people really want to read, they’re not likely going to make money.
Ingredients of a High Income Blog
On that note, there are a few key elements that, while they won’t guarantee you’ll earn real money, will make earning a blogging income easier (assuming you’re looking for a long-term strategy, and not a “post crap content, load it up with ads, SEO the hell out of it, and earn until Google penalizes you” strategy):
- Niche – Your blog’s niche is the topic it covers. You’ll have an easier time earning money from a blog niche that lends itself to ads, products that you can sell as an affiliate, or products and services you can offer to that audience. You’ll also have an easier time if you go with a niche that not only has a decent-sized audience (preferably one that you don’t expect to disappear in the near future), but that also isn’t already over-saturated with other blogs that would make it difficult for you to reach your target readers.
- Expertise – Do you have to be an expert in your niche? No, but it certainly helps. That’s because when you know the niche topic well, and you have credentials, it’s easy to build trust with an audience. When your blog audience trusts you, they’ll take more kindly to certain types of monetization (such as affiliate links to products that you’re reviewing, because they’ll trust your reviews more).
- Quality Content – It’s not usually too difficult to tell the difference between a blog written by a true expert giving quality advice and information and a blog where the “blogger” simply hired a bunch of cheap ghostwriters to put together keyword-rich posts for ad revenue. While the not-so-“elite” content can serve a purpose (and even make money for a while), quality content carries far more long-term income-generating potential. Why? Again, people will learn to trust it. When people trust your content, they not only keep coming back, but they start to spread the word about your site (including by giving you unsolicited backlinks). High quality content offers other benefits as well. For example, you may be able to get media exposure if you become recognized as an expert in the niche. When others spread the word for you, your blog’s (and income’s) fate doesn’t rely solely on traffic from search engines (so you don’t have to panic if you get penalized for some reason). Quality content makes that easier.
- Marketing Ability – You have to promote your blog in some way to get traffic. Without traffic, you have no visitors (no one to monetize through ads, sales, etc.). Many bloggers don’t excel at marketing… they just follow the same “been there, done that” tactics that everyone else uses, instead of really paying attention to their market and how they would best be reached. Marketing encompasses everything from your search engine optimization (SEO) to get higher search rankings to advertising to networking with others in your niche (such as by commenting on their own blogs).
- Consistency – It’s important that your readers have at least a vague idea of when you’ll be updating if you want to keep those regular readers exposed to your income streams. Depending on you and your niche, that may mean posting once per month, once per week, daily, or any other schedule for that matter. (This is what I mentioned previously as being one of my own biggest struggles in blogging.) In my own experience at least, when I blog consistently, income climbs quickly; when I stop for a while or get too irregular in posting, income drops respectively.
Making money from your blog might not be an easy task, but it can really be done. If you treat your blog like a business, and don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll instantly make a lot of money, you’ll improve your chance and rise above the ever-growing blogger crowd. Take your blog seriously. Take yourself seriously. And most importantly, never give up. Anyone can start a blog, but you need to be persistent to really make it work as a business.
Do you have additional monetization tips to share? Would you like to share your own successes or struggles with making money blogging? If so, leave a comment.