Making money from blogging is hard, I don’t want to give anyone any illusions it’s an easy road! However if you work on developing a business model that suits you and your blog you might just make it! The road will be long, and the key to making it is time and patience. You’ll need to work extremely hard on building the foundations of your blog before you can consider trying to make a living from it. Later on I’ll detail exactly how you can start to make money, but the first step is self-evaluation. Focus on your site, and what you need to work on before you start putting things in place to monetise. Here’s the first step, you might want to get a pen……..
Step One: What Your Blog Needs to Make Money
- A Strong and Loyal Readership -Arguably the most important factor is that you have a strong readership, who appreciate your content and trust your judgement. You need to be confident in your readership, and you need to know them as well as you can! Not only is it important for brands that you know who your audience are, you need to be sure that any content you produce is going to be appreciated- and more importantly successful!
- An Identifiable Tone of Voice- Not only will this help you build your readership, it will help you build an identity in the blogging world.
- A Brand! You can read more about this here: http://bloggers-lounge.co.uk/blogging-tips/turning-blog-brand/
- An Engaged Social Media Following- Whatever your campaigns are, you need to know your following are engaged. This is about security- without an engaged following your content could fall flat at times. Make sure you’ve really worked on finding out what works best for your following on social media.
- Regular Attention- You need to be able to commit regular time to your blog, not only to update new content but to update the website itself. You need to check all widgets are working, and have an audit of your site every few months to stop it looking outdated.
Step Two: What you Need to Consider before Monetising
With this in mind, there are a few things you have to consider when you decide to start trying to make a profit from your site. Answer each of these questions honestly and frankly, before deciding if you think you’re ready to focus both on your blog- and making money from it!
- How much time do you have to spend on your blog? You must be realistic here!
- Where do your strengths lie? Social media, website traffic, loyal readership, excellent quality content……all of the above?
- Has your readership been growing fairly consistently since you begun blogging?
- How well do you know your readership? Are you aware of their average age, location, likes/dislikes?
- Is the site itself up to scratch? Do you need to do a site audit, or redesign anything?
As always, the key here is to personalise our advice! Add a few questions of your own- all the while answering honestly. It might be helpful to answer the questions with someone who knows you and your blog well. Having an outside perspective is invaluable, and always brings up issues you might have been unaware of.
Step Three: How you can Make Money From Your Blog
So, you think you’re ready and you want to give it a go- but how do you actually start making money from your blog?! Here’s a quick run-down of the different ways in which you can start profiting from your hard work.
An affiliate link is when you have links to products within your blog posts, and when someone clicks through to the product and buys it from your link you get a commission. There are a whole host of affiliate programs, ranging from individual brand ones to larger networks. If you think affiliate links might be the best strategy for you, make sure you invest plenty of time researching different programmes and picking the best one for you. Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about affiliate links for your site:
- Is your readership large enough? Make no mistake, to make money from these links you need a large readership!
- Try to place yourself as an industry expert; well known travel bloggers can make plenty from affiliate links, because prospective travellers trust their judgement 100%. The same goes for beauty bloggers recommending great products! In order to make money from affiliate links you must build up a rapport with your following by providing honest and valuable insights into anything you review. This way when you find a product you love and recommend it, your readership will know they can trust your advice.
- What’s the cookie window on the affiliate links programme you’re using? If you’re not sure about this one, let me explain:
With some networks, if someone clicks on a product from your post but then doesn’t buy the item for a couple of days you’ll make no money. Even if they only bought the item because you wrote about it, unless there is a cookie window you will make no commission! However, with some networks there is a cookie window of up to 30 days! This means, if someone clicks on a product you’ve recommend it and then searches for it again up to a month later, the sale will be tracked back to you and you’ll get your commission! Make sure you are clear on the guidelines with your affiliate network before you sign up.
One of my favourites, because when done properly a great collaborative sponsored post can be really tailored to your readers, as well as benefiting the brand you’re working with. Depending on your readership and the age of your blog the rates for sponsored posts can change dramatically.
The key is to make each post as bespoke as you can, and always have your readership at the forefront of your content. It’s also worth being a little picky about who you work with- even if you’re just starting out. If a brand goes against your values, or won’t sit well with your readership then turn them down! Lifestyle blogger Park & Cube puts together some great sponsored posts, but it’s certainly worth looking at a whole range of well known bloggers to see how they put together sponsored posts. That way you’ll be able to work out what’s best for you.
If you really don’t want any brands or sponsored posts on your blog that’s absolutely fine. It can be really liberating to have the freedom to write whatever you want, without the pressure of thinking about making money from your blog content- but why not use your blog as a portfolio? In today’s job market, having a really great blog on your C.V is something that really does go a long way! And not only that, if you love the writing side I’d recommend really focusing on your written content and using this as a portfolio to send to online and offline publications alike. If you think this might be the right path for you, spend time building your social media profiles too so you’re able to spread your content far and wide.
Write an E-Book
You’ll need two things to make an e-book a success; Firstly you’ll need a well established readership to warrant a market for it, and secondly you’ll need a great topic. Going back to what I mentioned in the affiliate links section about making yourself an expert in your field- that would come in pretty hand here too!
An e-book will take you a lot of time to put together, so I’d strongly advise doing the groundwork and making sure there’s an audience out there for what you have to say. Put together surveys for your readership, ask your following questions on social media and contact other bloggers who have written e-books to see if they have any advice.
Get Adverts on Your Blog
You need a fairly large traffic-flow to make money from blog ads. In many cases you make money per 1000 impressions your ads get- so you need a readership of at least a few thousand per month to really benefit. A couple of networks have a minimum of 10,000+ unique impressions per month to be able to join, but there are some smaller networks that allow newer bloggers to join too. Here are the questions you need to ask ad networks if you’re thinking of placing ads on your blog:
– Will you be able to control the relevance of the ads?
– Will you get paid on a cost-per-click or a cost-per-impression basis?
– Can you opt-out of certain ads?
– How much of your blog will be taken up by the adverts?
Once you’re 100% happy with the deal you’ve made, the ads will go up and (hopefully) you’ll start making some money! This is one of the easier ways to make money from blogging, as you don’t need to produce content specifically to get paid. However, this is only because you’ll already have done the hard work to reach this point! As I said initially, when it comes to blog adverts the larger your readership the better.
NB: Make sure you compare ad networks, sometimes smaller networks can have far better rates so be sure to shop around!
Have you started using any of the above? Are you managing to make money from your site? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the comments below!