How to make money from your blog is an interesting topic by itself. A blog has developed from simple web application used for personal diary to full-featured software and content management system.
Right now you can use a blog to publish content easily and make money through many income streams. More on that later.
Whether to Make Money Blogging or Not
If your question is whether you should make money blogging, I would answer yes. Some people have strong feelings about monetizing blogs. They actually call everyone who has this idea a name. Usually, those people are also against commercialization of the Internet.
People who are in this category should not make money by blogging or publishing web content. They will not enjoy it and feel guilty.
Knowing the history of a blog, you may have mixed feelings about the idea of making money with your blog. If this is you, you should sort those out first.
A blog is just another type of a web site. Like I said above, it is also a content management system. You can make it like a web site entirely but run under a blog platform. It just manages the content and the look and feel.
Just to get your feet wet, you may find how other people make money from blogging.
If you think monetizing your site is the way to go, let’s get started.
Note: If the idea about making money giving away your expertise is a complete stranger to you, here’s an article listing 5 sites that allow you to leverage what you know and start making money online.
Facing the Reality about Monetizing Your Blogs
Professional bloggers are making four- to five-figure income per month. That won’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of hard work. People who tell you otherwise is very likely selling a blog scam business model.
That may disappoint you, but just like any other business, blogging is about starting an online publishing venture. It is different in some ways, but still you need to see it as a business.
If you need to hire others to get it done, then do it. The great thing about starting an online business is that you don’t need a lot of capital. If all you have is time, you can start a business with $50 or less.
Assuming you already have a computer with Internet connection, all you need is a domain and hosting — usually paid yearly and monthly, respectively. I don’t know any business that you can start with so little money. When it comes to potential, you can grow a blog to million dollar business if you really want to and have the skills to do so.
The relatively low barrier to entry makes online business, and blogging in particular, a very popular opportunity to try. Perhaps only less than one percent of people will ever make it big enough to replace their full-time income.
For this reason, you shouldn’t quit your job before you are sure you can do it. In fact, I suggest that if you don’t have an income while operating this business, find a part-time job just to support your expenditures.
If you are interested in what I call the easiest — yet most lucrative — business ever, read on my blog post about an evergreen online business model.
Prerequisites — What You Need to Know Before You Plunge
Many people believe that to make money online, you don’t need any skill. That is one of the biggest myths you will hear around. Just because you have a site doesn’t mean that money will start pouring in. If you’ve read sales letters that promise that, run… don’t walk, because they are trying to rob your hard-earned money.
You must at least have some familiarity with the Internet to be able to operate an Internet business and blog. Blogging provides an easy way to publish your content, but you must have other skill set.
Some of the things that you must have include, but not limited to:
- Search engine optimization (SEO).
- Email, instant messaging and other communication methods.
- Learn new web apps quickly, such as social networking and bookmarking.
- How affiliate program works and how to get affiliate links.
- Setup and customize ads from advertising networks like Google AdSense.
- Business concepts.
- …and some others.
If you plan to sell your own product, you must know how to setup a secure site, accept credit card, setup mailing list, and other e-commerce related tasks. You don’t need to be an expert in those all, but at least you know how to do things quickly. Each of the small details will pull you down if you have to ask others to help you do it.
The fastest way to be familiar with this is by getting involved with the computer and Internet as much as possible. You also need solid business and marketing knowledge / experience to create effective product or write persuasively.
While you can hire others to do those things, sometimes it is more effective if you learn how to do it yourself. Imagine having to wait several days just to have each small task done for you. Hiring full-time staff may not be an option for you yet.
Being the master of everything is not bad at all. A jack of all trades can be beneficial at times.
Don’t get me wrong. I recommend against getting into multiple niches at once. That will not get you too far. Just like traveling, you need to be able to pack, plan, read directions, communicate, fill in forms and other skills. To operate a business, you need many other skills beyond browsing.
Create a Strategy and Build a Plan
Still with me? Great. Building an online business is just like any other business, but the promise about working from anywhere and at anytime you wish is true. If that is the lifestyle that you want, you can do that now. Seriously. There are places where you can live like a king at one fifth the price of what you pay in the United States. If you look hard enough, you will also find countries with fast and stable Internet connection.
But I digress…
To start a blogging business, you need a well-rounded plan. Abandoned blogs are very common nowadays so if you don’t want to end up like them, make sure you know where you are going and how to go there from here.
Educate yourself. Read everything that you can find. Buy books or courses if necessary. Remember, this is your business.
As part of the strategic plan is how you make money from the blog. Before going into different moneymaking options for bloggers, I want to bust a myth about multiple streams of income (and how you should approach it).
If you are still confused about where the money will come from blogging, here are 8 blogging business models that can definitely help you in choosing the right path for you.
The Myth about Multiple Streams of Income
It sounds like a great idea, but it isn’t. Multiple streams of income in the context of what most people think, should be avoided at all cost.
Think about it for a moment. If you are to build 10 or 20 blogs, as many other professional bloggers a few years do, and expect them to make $500 each, you are working too hard. You may be able to juggle so many balls at the same time, but your work will be half-hearted at best. (Many of those bloggers are now focusing on one or two blogs.)
Passion is one thing that I always recommend if you are just getting started. People who did it for money, even if they are successful to certain extent, will start wondering why they spend two hours per day doing what they hate to do. Yes, the routine is killing themselves even if it is just a few hours each day.
What happens, imagine for a moment, if someone enters the market the next day, who is very passionate about the topic? He can do the same thing 16 hours a day and feels like playing all the time. Before long, you will be beaten. That is not the way to build a long-term business.
You can’t expect others to never find your niche. What you can do is to keep improving and contribute best information, create the best product in the market and provide best customer service. That’s how you get known in the market.
If you have to write for 10 or 20 blogs each day, how is that going to be good in quality? How could you compare with others who focus on one niche at a time?
The Internet is a big place. Even for an obscure niche, you may not be able to dominate it alone. If you are passionate about a niche, don’t worry about the competitions. People buy from more than one company if they are interested in certain niche. Your competitors may as well be your partners. Cross-promotion is one of the cheapest and easiest way to grow your business.
In the spirit of blogging, you should link to your competitors. That’s how you build credibility and your readers establish trust in what you say.
How Should You Approach It
As I said above, you can have multiple streams of income, but do that in the same niche. The benefit is, you can leverage or repurpose what you do instead of doing everything separately.
For instance, from one blog alone, you can earn money from AdSense, affiliate products, donation (tip jar) and create your own information products. You still don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. When one source of income dries up, you can always add new ones.
Pick Your Niche
Don’t overlook this part. Take your time and do it properly. Find topics that you really care about. Even if you are not knowledgeable about it, you can always learn it. The time you spend immersing in that topic of interest will be fun.
They say the fun thing lies in the process and journey when you build your business. They are true. You don’t want to wake up one day wondering where the years have gone, just because you don’t enjoy what you do.
Moneymaking Options — How You Can Make Money from Blogs
What most bloggers think when it comes to making money with their blogs is selling advertising space. That is far from being the only option though. These are several methods to earn money from your blog:
- Selling ad space. Partnering with advertising networks is the easiest way to do that. You don’t have to maintain ads inventory and relationship. The model is profit sharing. You can sell virtual real estates on your blog or in the RSS feed.
- Tip jar. If people find your content useful, often they will donate to encourage you to write more quality content. After all, time is one of the most precious resources that you can’t claim back. A tip jar just makes sense.
- Affiliate program. The benefit is, you don’t have to maintain inventory, create the products, deliver them or provide customer support. You sell other people’s products and if people buy from you, you get a share in commission.
- Writing work. You may be able to write reviews or write for other blogs.
- Flipping blogs. Build a blog in a niche to a level and then sell it. This can be profitable especially if the blog has earned some kinds of income. An obvious example of how lucrative this can be is when Weblogs Inc were sold to AOL for $25 million in 2005.
- Merchandising. Blogs with loyal followers are able to sell a lot of merchandise like T-shirts, mugs and other things as well. This is not as hard as you think, but it can bring another side income even if your blog doesn’t have significant readers yet. High-traffic blogs could do five-figure in merchandise alone per year.
- Information products. As an information provider, you can repurpose or create information-based products and sell them for profits. Examples of info products that are highly in demand are ebooks, audio CD programs, home study courses, teleseminar and teleseminar series, seminar and its recording, and so on. The cost of delivering them is minimal, but people pay premium for high quality information, not the price of the paper of material they are printed on.
- Coaching and consulting. As someone who knows what you are talking about, you will get consulting offers. I know many service professionals who successfully build their own practice by blogging.
If any of these sounds great to you, I invite you to dig deeper. Educate yourself, have a solid plan and take action.
Return to Blog Tips for a Better Blog — Blog Building University.