Introduction to Blogging

One of the easiest ways to make money online is blogging. Blogging allows you to work from home, write about something that you are passionate about and showcase your creative ability to a global audience. In this article, we attempt to answer the question that is often asked, can you earn a living as a blogger? It is our contention that yes; you can make money as a blogger. Our goal is not to teach you how to blog.

You will find a lot of step-by-step guides on the internet where you will learn how to set up a blog, sign up with a web host, select a domain name, install WordPress, write effective content, do keyword research and more. Our aim here is different, to make you aware of the various ways using which you can monetize your blog.

So that brings us back to the original question – can you make money as a blogger?

We are going to lay out the facts for you. According to a survey of professional bloggers carried out by iBlog.com, it was found that just 11% of the participants earned more than $30,000 from blogging. 68% made less than $5,000 and as many as 57% made less than $2,500

Having said that it was found that some bloggers made a six-figure income from blogging and 6% of the respondents made over $60,000 per year. That’s not bad at all!

Now, here’s the next question – should you take up blogging full-time or part-time?

The answer to that is if you want to make real money from your blog, you have to blog full-time. In the survey we alluded to earlier, it was found that 42 percent of the respondents had a day job, 30 percent were stay-at-home moms and 18 percent had their own business that was not related to the blog.

One of the most successful bloggers in the world right now, believe it or not, is Hollywood celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow. Her blog, Goop.com is one of the most viewed websites in the world. It gets her over 3.75 million views a month, has over a million subscribers and makes enough money to allow Ms. Paltrow to hire a 25-member team.

Not all bloggers will be as successful as Ms. Paltrow. There is no question that her fame has a lot to do with her success as a blogger. Most bloggers are ordinary people and there is nothing flashy about them. They blog because they are very passionate about a topic – which could be anything from gardening to internet marketing – and would like to earn an extra income in the process.

Now, make no mistake, if you want to make serious money from blogging, and we are talking about a six-figure income here, you have to take it seriously. You can’t just start a blog and hope that the money starts pouring in. You must put serious work into the blog.

How to become a professional blogger? In other words, how to monetize your blog?

That’s a tough one and nobody has a clear cut answer on how anyone can make money from a blog. Sure, there are ways to monetize a blog, for sure, and many bloggers have become fabulously rich because of them, but there is no way to be sure that they are going to work for you.

So, if you want t go from someone who blogs as a hobby to a real blogging pro who earns a decent livelihood from their blog, well, you must invest in your training, and make blogging a long-term thing. You must be in it for the long haul and be prepared to persist during the lean times, when there isn’t much money coming in.

How much money you will make as a blogger depends on the quality of your content, the frequency of your blogging, your market niche and most important of all, how well you promote the blog and are able to monetize it.
You can establish a solid income from your blog through advertising. But here’s what you should know beforehand. You don’t have to depend on advertising as a source of income for your blog.

Your blog establishes you as an authority in your niche. You can use your blog to build your personal brand, attract consulting gigs and speaking engagements, promote your books and freelance services, and get job offers.
However, our focus is on how you can earn a decent revenue stream from your blog from advertising.

Monetizing Your Blog with Advertising

Advertising generates income for your blog, website and other digital assets. The question is how. Display ads or banner ads are generally graphics or images that are the same in principle to billboard ads or magazine ads. They are generally found on the sidebar, header or footer, or within the blog post itself.

Your display ads should be attractive and add to your blog’s content. They should make sense to your visitors. Your visitors should feel interested enough to click on the images to purchase the products or services on offer.

How do you get display ads? You can get display ads by joining an ad network. Some examples of ad networks are Google AdSense, which is by far the most popular ad network for bloggers, as well as Blogads,  Beacon Ads, BlogHer, Federated Media,  Sovrn,  Media.net, Rivit and Sway.

The ad networks, such as Google AdSense connect bloggers (or publishers) with businesses or companies that wish to advertise their products or services. The ad network acts as the middle man between the advertiser and the publisher and gets a small commission in exchange.

As a blogger, you must get on Google AdSense, which is very easy to get into and set up your account on. The other ad networks listed by us are pretty decent as well, and take a much smaller cut of the advertising pie than Google does, but they do not have the same power or capacity as Google AdSense.

Google is the most successful internet company of all times, so when you sign up with Google AdsSense, you can bank on the entire Google eco-system and make it work for you.

But here’s the question – can you make money with Google AdSense?

Yes, you can, and Google AdSense is the ad network you should join when you are still new to blogging. It simplifies the whole process for you and has an easy learning curve. You won’t find it hard to set up Google AdSense at all.

You can make good money from AdSense provided you are in a unique niche in which advertisers will pay you a lot of money for each click on an ad. If you are not in such a niche, then you will need to have a high traffic on your blog if you want to make a decent income from AdSense.

One issue with Google AdSense is that it is not available to new bloggers from emerging nations such as India and China. If you are from these countries, your blog should be at least 6 months old before your application to join Google AdSense is even considered. This is one major drawback, and this leads people from these countries to look for other ad networks.

Private Ads

Private Ads are not too different from display ads, except that there is no middle man or ad network involved. You can get private ads to be displayed on your blog by directly negotiating with a small business or a company. You will need to set your own charges and make sure that it is up to the industry average for your niche.

Getting private ads is not easy and will require some effort on your part. You will need to cold call businesses and pitch your blog to them. You will need to explain the benefits of advertising on your blog and explain what’s in it for them.

Reviews

Reviews are among the easiest ways of monetizing your blog. Here, you will be approached by businesses or individuals such as ebook authors to review their products, services or books on your blog. They will, of course, send a free sample your way. In exchange for a fair and objective review, you will be given a certain amount of money. How much you get paid will depend on your reputation as a blogger and authority in your niche.

Newsletter or Podcast Sponsorships

If you use your blog to send out a newsletter or podcast, then you will get a lot of businesses who will want to sponsor your newsletter or podcasts, depending on how successful you are and how many followers or subscribers you are able to achieve. You will need to do some work here and pitch your idea effectively to the businesses that show an interest.

Sponsored Posts

Some companies pay bloggers for sponsored posts, which are posts that talk approvingly about the company’s product or service. It is important that you should disclose your relationship with the company to your readers – not doing so would be an FTC violation. Also, don’t overdo the sponsored posts; keep them to a minimum, perhaps one or two a month, at best.

So these are some of the most effective ways to monetize a blog. Another great way to make money from your blog is through affiliate marketing. We will discuss that in detail in another lesson. For now, let us give you 5 tips for making money from blogging…

How to Blog Profitably?

Tip #1: Blog on a topic that moves you and at which you are very comfortable at. This is a point many do not understand and end up starting a blog on a topic that they have no interest in. When you blog, remember, you will be doing this day in and day out for years to come. So it better be about something that you care about. If you do not care, then trust me, your readers will know that and they won’t care either. You cannot fool your audience.

Tip #2: Target a profitable niche where there isn’t much competition. You should blog about something that a lot of people care about, but the media generally ignores. Remember, you are not in a competition with mainstream media, so don’t even try to beat them. Only the best bloggers can take on mainstream media and succeed. Your job right now is to focus on profitable niches that the media does not care too much about.

Tip #3: Focus on the photography. With the success of visually dominant social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, blogging too has become a very visual activity. If you have noticed, many of the most successful blogs have world class photography. Now, we are not suggesting that you should pay over the top for professional photography, but please be selective about the photographs that you select for your blog from Getty and other stock photo services.

Tip #4: Form connections with other bloggers. Okay, why is this important? Why can’t you succeed on your own as a blogger? Here’s a simple reason why – to succeed on Google and to get a higher ranking on Google’s SERPs (or search engine results pages), you will need other authority sites to link to your blog. The only way to do that is to build relationships with other top bloggers in your niche and perhaps guest blog on their sites.

Tip #5: Invest in your training. Even the most experienced bloggers keep learning new things. The thing about internet based businesses or online business is that they change all the time. The techniques or strategies that you held sacred only a couple of years back and which have served you well so far, may not work any longer. So always be prepared to seek out help and always keep learning and evolving as a blogger.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and use the information given here to spur you on to success. Yes, you can certainly get rich quick by blogging, as long as you are prepared to work hard for it.