Okay, you’ve worked hard and put your heart and soul into your blog.
You’ve racked your brain for topics, typed until your fingers were sore, Tweeted, Liked, and Pinned until you were blue in the face…and here you are, after months of painstaking work.
You finally have the Holy Grail – a blog with traffic. Now, what do you do?
You never really thought about making money from your blog. But, now that you have traffic and a target audience that values what you have to say on your blog, maybe it’s time to start monetizing it.
But, where do you start and can you really make a living from blogging?
I’m here to say, yes, you absolutely can make a living from blogging. In fact, most passions can be monetized. In as little as 3-6 months you may start to see money and within a year you can often be well on your way to making blogging your full time career.
Part 1: Get Your Blog Ready For Making Money
Before we jump into all the different ways you can make money online, first things first:
Is your blog ready to start making money?
The number one requirement for any blog to make some serious cash is it must have traffic. It doesn’t have to be much, but it has to be enough to convert into dollars.
While it isn’t unheard of to make money from your blog with as little as 200 visitors a day, generally a blog needs more than that to see any profit in the long run.
Aside from steady traffic coming to your blog, here are other ways to get your blog ready to hang out with all the other money making blogs.
1. Switch Over to a Self-Hosted Blog
The good thing about blogging in 2015 is that it’s very easy to get set up and get started– go to WordPress or Blogger, the two most popular providers, and within minutes you can start blogging away for free.
While Blogger doesn’t have any restrictions on monetizing your blog, free hosting sites in general give you less control over your blog. For example, a free WordPress.com blog doesn’t allow you to download plugins and has a limited selection of themes to choose from.
Also, your URL will have a third party domain name attached to it (ex: myblog.wordpress.com) signaling to the world you aren’t really serious about blogging.
So, to appear more professional and have more options to customize your blog, switch over to a self-hosted blog.
Useful Tutorial: How to Move From Blogger To WordPress
2. Include an Opt-in Box and Build Your Email List
An opt-in box is lead capture form on your blog, often displayed as a modal window – a modern-day popup – that pops up and prompts your visitors to sign up in order to receive special tips or ideas via email.
To make your opt-in more valuable to your readers, you can offer a freebie, or lead magnet. An eBook, access to a special video or access to a podcast are all great ways to grow your email list and get your blog ready to make some money.
3. Invest in Photography Lessons
Most blogs are passion type blogs – DIY/craft blogs, food blogs, travel or fashion blogs for example. As a way to grow your traffic and ensure you have a constant flow of visitors, images on your blog should be optimized for social media.
In particular, having images that are optimized for Pinterest can help grow your traffic quickly. It’s definitely one of the fastest growing social media platforms for female Millennials, and increasingly for men, who now account for 20% of Pinterest users.
While it’s true there are plenty of great royalty-free stock photo sites out there, such as Pixabay and Unsplash, if you really want to your blog and your Pins to stand out, there is nothing better than starting with your own unique, high-quality photos.
To get you going, invest in an online photography lesson, like Shoot Fly Shoot to help you create pin-worthy images.
4. Let Your Readers Know You’re Making the Transition
It’s probably a good idea to let your audience know you are going to start monetizing your blog. If you suddenly started putting ads on your blog without letting them know, you could run the risk of readers unsubscribing from your newsletter or avoiding coming to your site.
Readers also trust bloggers more when they are transparent. They want authenticity from the blog owner – and the more you can show them this – the more they will trust you.
So, now that your blog is ready to make money, what are the different things an average blogger can do to catapult their blog into financial success?
Part 2: How To Make Money With Blogging
Let’s look at 5 different profitable ways you can monetize your passion.
1. Affiliate Products
Affiliate marketing is by far the easiest way to start earning money from your blog.
Affiliate programs allow you to promote other people’s products or services on your site.
There are many affiliate programs and networks out there like Amazon or ShareASale, where you can sign up and receive personalized links to a product. Whenever someone clicks on that link, and makes a purchase, you get a commission.
When promoting affiliate products or services on your blog, you can typically place the link anywhere.
Some common places to include affiliate banners or text links are:
- In your site’s sidebar or header
- At the end of a post or article (where you may have pre-sold the product)
- Woven into informational posts
- In specific product review posts
As a general rule, make sure the products you are promoting are in line with your target audience. If college students primarily visit your blog, advertising for something like senior health insurance wouldn’t get many click-throughs because it doesn’t resonate with your readers.
Also note, bloggers in the U.S. must properly disclose affiliate links on their sites, according to the Federal Trade Commission. You can have a static page on your blog with a disclosure and links to your affiliate products.
You can have a box disclosing your affiliate links in your blog posts.
Or, you can put your disclosure statement at the end of a blog post.
Other ways include putting a disclosure statement in your site’s footer or denoting inline that a specific link is an affiliate link.
2. Sponsored Posts
If you worked your little blogger butt off and now have a dedicated and loyal following, brands and small business might start to approach you for a sponsored post.
A sponsored post is a paid blog post you write or a guest post the advertiser writes.
If you entertain the idea of having a sponsored post on your blog, remember you have the right to set your own rate. I’ve heard from countless bloggers, however, that they aren’t charging enough for sponsored posts.
Here is a simple guideline that I posted on my blog of what bloggers should charge for a sponsored post based on two metrics: unique visitors per month and Google page rank.
3. Freelance Blogging
A great way to earn consistent pay from blogging is to offer your writing skills to other blog owners. Many small businesses have blogs that need regular content. If you have the time and expert knowledge in your niche, then you can definitely make some consistent cash.
The typical payout varies, but it isn’t uncommon to receive $50 for a 500-800 word blog post. To get started in freelance writing, start scouting various job boards and pitching your expertise in your chosen niche.
Here are some popular freelance writing job boards to get your started:
Besides being able to write, you can also use your experience in optimizing images for social media, editing, and social media marketing to give you the upper edge in securing a writing gig.
4. Offer Your Expert Services
Usually, when you’ve been blogging for a while, you start to realize that you do much more than just blogging. You are responsible for promoting your blog content, managing your blog content schedule, updating your website and logo to stay current – all the while working to generate more and more traffic.
With all this knowledge, you’ve built a successful blog. Why not offer your services to help other bloggers? I did exactly this once my site became popular. I started coaching other bloggers and it’s proven to be highly sought after and profitable.
Another example of offering your services is the blog, Pinch of Yum. Lindsay and her husband, Bjork, started a food blog as a hobby and eventually turned their passion into a full-time profitable blog.
5. Sell a Product
One last way to generate income from your blog is to sell a product like an eBook or eCourse. Since your readers come to your blog to learn from you, providing a detailed book or course that delves into a certain topic in depth will be highly sought-after by your audience.
Just remember, you won’t necessarily profit right away from a product. It could take several months, but what’s great about an eBook or eCourse is it’s passive income. And, unlike affiliate marketing that draws your readers away to another site, selling your own product can often further your readers’ loyalty by making them come to your site regularly.
With a self-hosted blog, an email list, snazzy photos and letting your readers in on your plan to monetize your blog, you’re on your way to turning your passion into a business.
While there are many different avenues to choose from when deciding to earn some money blogging, I listed the five most common ways such as affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, freelance blogging, offering a service or selling a product.
Now it’s your turn..
Tell me what you did to start earning money from your blog and if you plan on making this your full-time career.