Many people have started blogs in order to generate additional income – but the question often posed is, ‘Can I make a full-time living from blogging?’
Being a ‘digital nomad’ or ‘remote worker’ is the new work trend, and blogging is a popular way to earn an income if you don’t have location limitations.
You’ll find many successful bloggers who are indeed earning enough to live on – some are even making substantial earnings from blogging. However, it’s not easy and you’ll need to know what you’re doing before giving up your day job and relying solely on your blog to pay your expenses and support your lifestyle.
Before you can even consider earning money from your blog, you’ll require followers and a strong online presence. This means you’ll need credibility and a reason for someone to sign up for your blog post and receive newsletters. You’ll need to be a subject matter specialist if you’re wanting anyone besides family and friends interested in what you have to say. Once you’re recognised as a specialist in a topic, you can not only write for other publications on this subject matter, but also start monetising your own blog/website, and soon turn your hobby into an income earner.
There are several ways to generate income from your blog:
- Probably the biggest way to make money from your blog is with affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing works by adding tracked affiliate links into the text of your blog. You’ll make a commission every time a reader clicks through to a site or product that you recommend and makes a purchase. Sometimes the commissions are small – but could be frequent so it’s a numbers game. Again, you’ll want to link to products that relate to your blog – so for example, if your blog is related to travel, you may want to link to Travel Insurance affiliate programs or even accommodation booking sites such as Booking.com. Affiliate program commissions can range from just a small percentage to as much as 40% of a sale – depending on the service or product. No matter your niche, you’re sure to find appropriate affiliate link products to recommend to your readers.
- Still on the subject of Affiliate marketing – most eCommerce sites such as Amazon.com have affiliate links where you can market specific products relating to your blog. Perhaps you’re an expert baker and your blog features tried-and-tested recipes. Here, you can add links to your favourite utensils, bakeware and products. Perhaps you’re a location specialist – here you can add links to books on your location and earn a commission every time a customer buys a book by accessing the link via your site. It’s imperative that you are honest with affiliate marketing, and only write reviews and recommend products and services that you genuinely believe in, or you will lose credibility with your readers.
- Once you have a strong following (with proven web analytics) you can charge for advertising on your blog or website, and even in your newsletter. Usually, you’d want to keep products and services related to your theme. Paid adverts (banners or down a side panel) can be in the form of monthly or annual subscriptions, or even by way of ‘pay per click’ (PPC).
- Write advertorials and sponsored content. This money-making method works best when you have a strong niche audience. Once you’ve grown your readership, brands will often approach you to discuss sponsored posts. Sponsorship could be in the way of ‘free products’ or actual payment – or sometimes both. Let’s say your blog is on all things hiking or outdoors. Perhaps a backpack manufacturer approaches you to use their latest backpack on one of your hikes and write about how the pack handles the trip. You’ll get to keep the backpack, and also negotiate a fee for writing the article. As previously mentioned, honest reviews are a must, and if you’re not happy with the product after testing it – you’ll need to let the supplier know if you’d rather not promote it.
- Social media posts: If you’re planning on making money from your blog – your social media presence will go hand in hand with the blog posts. You’ll need to grow your social media followers and tie all blog posts back to your social media. Just as you can charge for advertorials and sponsored blog content – so you can charge for social media posts promoting related products. Of course, you’ll need to show that you have a strong following with regular engagement before anyone will be prepared to pay you as an ‘influencer’. The more readers and followers you have, the more attractive you are to an advertiser.
- Depending on your niche, you could sell short courses on your area of expertise, as well as one-on-one sessions. For example, perhaps you’re an expat and have been through all the red tape involved with moving abroad. Many want-to-be expats would gladly pay a fee for a private video call on navigating what can be a scary process of paperwork and bureaucracy. If you’re good at public speaking, you can even offer to do workshops, paid webinars, or speak at events in your area of expertise.
- Create ‘restricted members only’ content. Your most loyal fans may be prepared to pay a subscription for more detailed content or be part of a private forum. Of course, you’d first have to hook them with general content and teasers before they’d be prepared to sign up for exclusive content, such as eBooks.
- Sell merchandise. While this could be strictly drifting off making money from blogging, perhaps you’d like to directly sell products related to your blog. This is different to affiliate links where you are marketing on behalf of another seller. Here you could set up an Esty (for independent sellers of crafts, collectables or vintage items) or Shopify (general online selling) online shop. Merchandise can be as simple as branding with your logo for your fan base.
Monetising your blog takes time. You need to build your readers and traffic to the site, as well as followers to your social media account. Once you have these followers, you need to keep them engaged – like any business, it takes commitment and ongoing work. Initially, it may start as a hobby and you may need multiple income streams before you can rely solely on your blog for income. The blogging market is saturated, and you’ll need to stand out from the crowd with interesting and current content. But it can be done, and you’ll find many successful bloggers enjoying this lifestyle as their sole source of income.
Thinking of starting a money-making blog?
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