Thinking of monetising your blog? You are not alone. How to make money blogging is a popular search engine topic, as bloggers (and other social media platform owners) from all walks of life seek to leave the 9-5 behind and make a full-time living online. Successful bloggers and social platform owners make it look easy, and graphics popping up in your feed telling you to follow such and such method to earn 5 / 6 figures a month further fuel the dream. But if it was as easy as it is made out to be then every blogger and social platform owner would be raking in those promised sums of cash. But as we all know it takes time and effort to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. Like most things making money as a blogger or platform owner is all about planning and preparation and having realistic expectations.
To increase your chances of successfully making money blogging here are some things you need to consider:
First things first, in order to monetise your blog or social platform you need an audience. On average you will need to have been blogging for at least a good six months and built up a decent sized, engaged audience (family and friends don’t count!). The size of which will depend on your niche and what income streams you are looking at using. It is also important to listen to your audience. Their comments and feedback will tell you the issues they are facing, and what they want, helping you to create the products and services needed to monetise your blog or platform.
2. Your content
Your niche and what you blog about will have an impact on how you monetise your blog and platforms. For example lifestyle, fashion, beauty, interiors, food, fitness, business, and travel are highly popular categories. As such these attract a lot of opportunities from businesses and marketers looking to work with popular and highly visible blog and platform owners to promote their products. However, the popularity of these categories means that you are competing against a high number of other blog and platforms owners, calling for the need to stand out. This is not to say you shouldn’t produce content in these categories it’s about finding a niche within those categories and the quality of the content you produce. A niche means instead of having a blog that covers everything to do with travel you would narrow your focus down to say, travelling with young kids. That way you increase your chances of attracting your right audience, creating the appropriate income streams and attracting companies that would want to work with you to get access to your audience. When it comes to creating content offer value. Don’t just create a large amount of low-quality posts to drive traffic to your blog simply because you want to make money, you won’t be doing yourself any favours. Your audience is savvy enough to know when something is insincere.
3. Income streams
You need to think about what income streams are right for you and your audience. There are many ways to earn an income from your blog, and as technology advances more opportunities keep opening up. That said making money blogging doesn’t mean you are restricted to being online. You can take your efforts offline too. This means there is something for everyone. If your goal is for your blog or social platform to provide a full-time job and primary income, to increase your chances of achieving this I will advise not putting all your eggs in one basket. In other words put in place multiple streams of income, so that if one dries up, or doesn’t work out you have others to fall back on.
Here is a look at the main income streams to monetise your blog and platforms:
A popular choice with bloggers and one of the quickest ways to monetise your blog. Banner ads work by rewarding you with a small fee every time an ad is either shown to, or clicked on by a visitor. Banner ads can be a lucrative income stream for high-traffic blogs as the more visitors you have the more you can earn. Note I used the words ‘high-traffic’, you are ideally looking at five/six-figure plus daily/monthly visitor numbers. Banner ads are low maintenance you just add the code and the provider does the rest. The downside with banner ads is that aside from categories you cannot choose what ads appear on your site. If using banner ads bear in mind that readers have a love/hate relationship with these and can see them as annoying if you have ads placed all over your blog.
To get started visit: Sign up to Google Adsense
Not as visible as banner ads affiliate links are the placement of linked text or images into your content so that they look like part of the feature. These links relate to a third-party company’s product or service that you are talking about and promoting in your content. Affiliate links contain a special code to identify your blog as the referrer. When the reader clicks on the linked text they are taken to the product’s webpage and if they make a purchase you will earn a small fee. Again the more readers that click through and purchase the more you earn. And just like banner ads too many can not only be annoying but make you come across as just chasing money and not thinking of your audience. If you choose to use affiliate links you need to put a disclosure statement at the start or end of the relevant posts to make this clear to the reader. Just like I have done at the end of this post.
To get started: You can sign up to a retailer’s affiliate programme, for example Amazon Associates or join an Affiliate Network like Rakuten Marketing or Share A Sale to get access to different affiliate programmes from one place. To find Affiliate Network programmes that relate to your industry or to see if your favourite retailer has one in place do a search using the words ‘Affiliate programme [then the name of the industry or retailer]’ i.e. Affiliate programme Anthroplogie.
Bloggers move into this offering in order to control the type of adverts that appear on their posts. Sponsored post or advertorials, as they are also known, are posts promoting a third-party product but designed to look like any other post on your blog or feed. The difference being that you are being paid to talk about said product or service. You will also need to put a disclosure statement at the start of the relevant posts to make this clear to the reader. These types of ads can include banner ads that the blogger manages themselves, including designing the ads to fit in with their platform’s look and feel. The downside with managing ads yourself is that you are responsible for all the related admin such as keeping track of advertising periods, billing cycles and so forth. You can get companies to advertise on your blog by directly pitching them or you can join an agency that will connect you with advertisers. These companies tend to sign well-known, or influential blogs and platform owners. However, there is an increasing shift towards companies seeking to work with smaller platforms with high engagement.
To get started visit: Bloggers Connected, or do a search for ‘companies connecting advertisers and bloggers’
Remember what I said in point 2. about listening to what your customers are asking for? If you have a serviced-based blog, creating digital products such as courses, e-books and workbooks are a great way to serve your audience and make money blogging. The major benefit of these types of product is that you create it once, and set it up to automatically download or send upon receipt of payment meaning you can potentially reach many people without you having to physically deliver the content each time.
To get started: Have a look at your popular posts and see if you can expand them into a course or book. Alternatively, if you have several posts following the same theme bundle them together in a logical order to turn them into an e-book. To create your course have a look at Teachable and Thinkific, which both have excellent getting started guides.
Taking on clients
Making money blogging doesn’t mean it has to only take place on your blog. By using your blog posts and expertise to attract your right audience you can build on your digital product offering by offering more personalised services such as face-to-face coaching, teaching, workshops, consulting, and hosting retreats. These can take place on or offline or you can have both options.
To get started: Take some time and think about what you are good at. What advice do you always find yourself dishing out when asked or notice that others always say to you things like ‘you make it look so easy!’ that you could see yourself teaching others. What you take for granted could be the very thing someone else will pay you to learn or have.
Restricting access to some of your blog posts or other content such as videos, courses, and forums for paid members gives you the advantage of earning a recurring income. Membership sites do require a lot of maintenance, so you do have to make sure that you keep the paid for content topped-up on a consistent basis i.e. monthly, and that the paid for content gives more value than your free content.
To get started visit: The Membership Guys
Setting up a digital or bricks-and-mortar shop selling products you or others create is a great way of earning an income from your blog or social media platform. What you choose to sell is entirely up to you, keeping in mind your audiences needs of course.
To get started: If you need help figuring out what your audience wants Do You Know Who You Are Selling To? guides you through the process.
If you have positioned yourself as an expert on your subject area getting paid to speak at conferences and events is highly rewarding not just in what you can earn (sought after speakers can command appearance fees ranging from 5 to 6 figures), but is also a great confidence booster in being recognised for what you do. The more experience and exposure you get with speaking the more you can charge. What to charge will be dependent on your experience, knowledge, reach and visibility.
To get started: Start building relationships with event hosts for the event you would like to speak at. You can do this by befriending them online, offering to write guest posts for their blog. The aim is to get them used to hearing from you before you ask for an opportunity to speak. If you feel nervous about speaking live ease yourself in by pitching to relevant podcasts to get your voice out there and help you practice speaking ‘live’ as it were. If you are not sure how to pitch for speaking opportunities my course, Pitch Your Way To Visibility guides you through what you need to do to make a successful pitch.
As you can see from the above as you work your way down the list the income streams get more lucrative. Making money blogging is the same as running any other type of business, so treat it as such. You need to plan, set goals and be realistic in knowing that nothing happens overnight, things take time.
If you are thinking of turning your blog into a business and earning an income from it and want to talk through your options have a look at Make Money Doing What You Love Clarity Call, my dedicated one-to-one service for creative entrepreneurs looking to turn their passion into a successful and profitable business. On the call you will receive more personalised advice and a plan to get you started.
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links meaning I may get a small commission if you follow an affiliate link and make a purchase.