“Money can’t buy you happiness, but it prevents financial hardship”
Sure, you love writing.
That is one of the reasons why you work on it every darn night, every weekend, and sometimes even in the morning before work.
Your wife is as loving as she always was, perhaps a bit irritated, though.
Your kids call you Sir, and your dog ignores you.
You live the life of a novice blogger!
You strive for quality content, fight for every subscriber, and you wonder…
“Is it really true?
Do bloggers even make money?
And if so, how would you go about it?
Where do I start?
Do I use ads? Affiliate marketing, sell products, what, how?
How do I know I’m on the right track?
To make real money with your blog seems sooo uncertain; perhaps it’s just a fairy-tale?
The truth is every blogger can make money blogging.
But it’s not easy.
So let’s get started.
Choose between hobby and business
One thing is for sure; you can’t monetize a failing blog.
I’m sure you have heard the line: “90% of all blogs fail!”
Can a hobby fail? It can’t.
Since a hobby can’t fail, yet 90% of all blogs do, this would mean that the majority of all blogs have started with the idea of turning it into a business and making money off it.
Therefore the first step into monetization is to ensure you don’t fail.
You have to avoid the three main reasons why blogs fail:
Don’t give up to early. The reasons why people walk away from their blogs vary, but in most cases, it is a lack of commitment and being overwhelmed. To grow your blog to the point where it can make money takes time and is a lot of work. Are you committed, and do you have what it takes to put in the time and hard work? If so, you have the foundation for a potentially profitable blog.
Avoid picking a blogging niche that is difficult to monetize. Instead, choose a niche with money potential and be clear on how your future blog can generate money. Unfortunately, most people go about it the wrong way. They start a blog, and down the road, try to figure out how to make money from it. This is very problematic for a couple of reasons.
If you are the only person interested in the subject you blog about, you won’t get any traffic, and traffic is the key to monetization.
You could pick a niche that generates a ton of traffic, but all this traffic does not convert. Besides renting ad-space on your blog, monetization means someone purchases either your product or someone else’s that you’re advertising for, of your blog. But if all the traffic you have is not interested in purchasing anything, your monetization opportunities are minimal. Your blog will eventually be one of the 90%.
You can see how important it is to pick the right niche today if you want to monetize tomorrow. If you choose the wrong niche, one that is difficult to monetize, your blog will never be a big moneymaker.
If you would like to know what blog niches will always make you reliable money, download this FREE ebook I have written for people just like you, for people that don’t want to rely on luck but solid advice.
Download your FREE ebook right here:
“The Ultimate List of Profitable Blog Niches That Will Always Make You Money”
Equally important, even at this early stage, is to establish your USP, your Unique Selling Proposition, which means why would someone purchase from you or use your service instead of your competitors. In other words, what makes your product, service, your blog better than the ones you compete against.
Don’t think it is all “easy peasy”; anyone can blog and there is nothing to learn. Content creation, blogging as a business is an art form. And as such, it needs to be fostered and developed. You have to create and keep up your motivation to learn the ropes:
How to write blog posts
How many, how long should they be
How to promote, do social media marketing, influencer marketing, and such
How to monetize
And much, much more
If you’re not willing to learn as much as you can, you will be joining the 90%
Grow your audience
Did I mention you need traffic, and lots of it, to have a chance to generate money with your blog?
How can you get traffic?
First, you have to create great content people are looking for; as Jon Morrow always says, “Content is king.”
Secondly, you have to promote your blog.
Great content and promotion to the right audience lead to engagement. Engagement will not only grow your audience but establish you as an authority your audience will trust. That is the foundation for any successful blog monetization.
Build your email list
It’s true, “the money is in the list!”
An extensive email list is more valuable than any social media following. The reason is simple; you own the list. You can reach the people directly through email and don’t have to depend on the goodwill of the “Social Media Gods” to put your content in front of their viewers. You communicate directly with your subscribers and be more personal; this will help build the so important trust. It is much easier to sell a product to your subscribers than to visitors on any social media channel.
Affiliate marketing is perhaps the best way to start blog monetization, especially if you have lower traffic and a shorter email list.
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing promotes physical or digital products or services of other companies for a commission.
The opportunities to become an affiliate marketer and be successful are quite good since so many companies use the power of content marketing.
The steps are simple. You apply to join an affiliate program, either directly or through networks, for products you like to promote. After being accepted into the program, you grab your affiliate link (unique URL code) and use it to promote a product. When readers click through your link and buy the product, voila, you get paid.
But before you get started promoting something, ask yourself this honest question, “Will my audience benefit from my offer?”; because that is what we do. It may not be apparent to everyone, but we bloggers are in the business of providing value.
We provide “Point of view,” suggestions, and experience-based advice. All this is only possible if the people you’re writing for trust you; yup, there is the T-Word again. So don’t disappoint your readers by promoting junk only to make a buck.
Only promote something you believe has value for your readers. The best way of demonstrating this is if you can honestly say that you have used or still use this product and you love it.
Many people use the words affiliate marketing and passive income in the same sentence. That is not quite right, in my opinion. You can indeed place an affiliate link on your site and forget about it, chances are your link will earn you money. However, the real money comes, like anything in blogging, when you put in the work, when you promote it, heavily!
Affiliate networks are not the only option to become an affiliate marketer. You can promote a single product directly from a creator. Best examples of such opportunities are courses created by other bloggers. Courses such as; How To Start A Blog, Be Successful On Pinterest, and so forth.
You can get more in debt information on affiliate marketing for beginner’s right here.
Producing sponsored content
You would create content that promotes a product, service, or company in exchange for a fee. If your blog enjoys noticeable traffic, you can use your editorial expertise and your reach to promote smaller companies and get paid for it.
A slight twist to this is sponsorship. A sponsor would pay you a monthly fee to mention their name or products in different ways. The mentioning is not restricted to just one blog post or Podcast, but ongoing.
The downside, if you want to call it that, is that you have to promote yourself to potential sponsors for sponsored content and sponsorship. It is something that you need to get used to.
Why would companies be interested in asking a blogger to write about their products?
Because if you have grown a sizable audience, you have created a niche market. This market looks to you for your opinion, advice and recommendation. Survey after survey has proven that consumers are more inclined to purchase a product if it is recommended by someone they trust! Ahaaaaa!
For that reason, other brands and organizations like to take advantage of the influence you have on your market and are willing to pay for it.
What better way to help your audience and make money than to sell what you know?
The highest income for most bloggers comes from selling online courses or workshops. This income stream is quite lucrative across the entire blogging scene, such as food and recipe blogs, fitness blogs, interior design or finance blogs.
Courses are big money makers and to no surprise. The online Education market is on fire for many years with no end in sight. Global Market Insights anticipates the eLearning market will surpass USD 375 billion by 2026.
It can be a bit intimidating to start creating an online course, but the benefits are enormous when you feel you’re ready. After you’ve created the course and set up a sales funnel, you can sell the course for a long time with occasional minimal tweaking on the promotion side.
A word of caution! Ask yourself, why would someone buy a course? Because this person looks for help, needs to learn something. Where would such a person look for help?
To experts he or she trusts.
Are you an expert?
Have you won the trust of your readers yet?
On a positive side note, the larger your audience and your list, the larger is your ROI. However, under the right conditions, you don’t need a big following to get started; just a few hundred people can be enough to make a few thousand dollars.
How to create a course:
Develop a course idea
Pre-sale the course before you even create the course
Choose the platform
Create the course
Promote, promote, promote!
You can read more in detail on how to promote a blog for rapid growth right here.
A ton of people don’t write their content themselves; they use ghostwriters; freelance bloggers. It is a good way for beginning bloggers to make money besides working on their own blogs. But be aware, ghostwriting takes time away from your blog and doesn’t do much for its growth.
Nevertheless, the opportunities are compelling; many people make a full income selling their writing services.
How can you get started?
Find out what you’re good at or what you would like to offer, such as ghostwriting, Pinterest management, or creating ad campaigns.
Find people looking for your service
Pitch your service. The best way is to build and foster relationships with other busy bloggers. Over time you can ask them if they need help or ask for referrals.
What is an ebook? Ebooks are like books on your bookshelf, except people read them on their computer, and anyone can create and publish them. The easiest way to create an ebook is by using MS Word or Google doc and export the script as a PDF. When you choose to publish on Kindle, it makes your ebook sellable on Amazon.
If you already have written extensive material, such as blog posts, tutorials, or mini-courses, you can even reuse such content to craft your ebook.
Are you wondering what your ebook should be about? That is easy to answer; take a look at what are your most popular blog posts. Bingo, there is your ebook subject.
As easy as ebooks can be created, be aware they are not big-ticket items and not huge money-makers. However, they can be an effective tool to promote your brand, your blog, or other work you do.
Placing ads has one advantage over just about any other form of monetization; it is virtually wholly passive. But making money by displaying ads is not without challenges.
I think it can be said that displaying ads yields probably the lowest return on all monetization efforts. You can’t expect to make decent money if you don’t have a ton of traffic. For novice bloggers with low traffic, a way into monetization with ads is Google Adsense. Adsense is a sensible way to get started since it does not require a minimum traffic size and might lead to a few bucks a month. After your traffic has grown 25+k, you can switch to more selective networks like Mediavine and AdThrive.
The All-important traffic
I think when you’ve read through my post, and you’ve ended up here, you have an idea of how important traffic is.
Darn important, Right?
In the world of content marketing, like blogging, Podcasting, Youtubing, you name it, traffic is everything.
Traffic puts your content in front of the eyes of visitors, your potential customers. The more traffic you have, the more eyes will see your content, the more people will buy!
You can’t sell anything if your “future” customers:
Don’t know that they need your product.
Don’t know that you exist
Don’t know that you have this product they need
Those are the three pillars of marketing. They have been around, virtually unchanged, as long as humans have been trading with each other.
That is what traffic does. It shows your future customers that you have what they need.
Yet as significant as traffic is, traffic is just the start.
Successful monetization occurs when you have the traffic and you know how to use it; that is the real art.
If you would like to know how I grew my Pinterest account from 49k to well over 640K in only three months, read here.
As I mentioned in other related posts before, Pinterest is a search engine, much like Google and YouTube and not a social media platform.
So if you tried to use social media to generate traffic and it is simply not working for you, take a look at my blog post: “Is Social Media Failing You? Find Out Wat’s Really Going On!” where I tackle precisely this interesting subject.
Traffic and conversion can be a marriage made in heaven or made in hell.
If you have tons of traffic but no conversions, you still have no business.
There are two reasons for that.
Reason number 1. You got the fundamentals wrong and are now talking to the wrong people. Remember what I said in “Choose between hobby and business.” Read back on it, and you will understand.
Reason number 2. This one is much trickier. Here you have tons of traffic coming to your blog but no sales.
There are usually two reasons for that.
# 1) You lured your visitors to your site under false pretenses. Wow, what do I mean by that?
Take a look at Pinterest.
(I love Pinterest for several reasons, but that would be an entirely different post.)
Pinterest is a visual search engine that can generate serious traffic because of stunning visuals with a persuasive message. Due to this medium’s specifics, it is easy to give your viewers the wrong impression, unintentionally. Now they come to your blog and don’t find what they expected to see. They will be disappointed and leave.
Is this the traffic’s fault? Of course, not, there is nothing wrong with your traffic.
Is this Pinterest’s fault? Like “Oh, Pinterest traffic does not convert” No, it’s not.
To avoid that fiasco and attract traffic that will convert, be very clear on what your visitors will find, what their real benefit will be.
#2) This one is simple. After taking a closer look, your physical or virtual products or services are not attractive enough; and your visitors will leave and never return.
The solution is? Create better products and you will have sales.
What is The Outcome Of All This?
Can You Really Make Money As a Content Creator?
Is it possible?
Yes, without a doubt! If you treat your blog, Podcast and such like a business right from the start.
The blogging business has one of the lowest barriers of entry.
You can start your journey on the side and eventually turn it into a viable business providing a wonderful life for you and your family.
It takes time; it is hard.
But like everything you struggle through, it is a voyage of small successes and an incredible rush when it takes up momentum and develops speed.
Being a successful blogger has a lot of benefits.
You are geographically independent, and you can live and work where ever in the world you have internet access.
You choose what to do and how to do it.
You make a darn good living and meet super exciting people doing it.
I think those are pretty convincing reasons to be patient, put in the hard work, learn what you have to learn.
I know, especially as a beginner, there is so much to do and so little time. To help you out, I have asked 40 renowned online entrepreneurs to share their most effective time management advice to solopreneurs on how to get their online business off the ground.
The advice you will find here is simply fantastic!
Now over to you!
If you have not started a blog yet, get going.
The best day to start a blog was yesterday. The second best day is today!
If you have a blog already, start tweaking to get the fundamentals right and evaluate what are your best options to monetize your blog.
I’m sure the information you found in this post will help you make the right decisions.
And you know what?
I would be ecstatic if you could leave a comment below and tell me if you found this content helpful.