The concept of blogging started out as little more than the online equivalent of a private diary, but blogs have quickly grown into respectable online publications that can generate revenue for bloggers. You don't need to be a major media conglomerate to make money blogging. There are several ways that just about anyone can start a blog and begin earning income from it.
Before you begin blogging, you need to decide upon the topic or niche area you want to focus your content around. Since you need to prepare fresh content regularly, choose a topic that you are passionate about. Select a topic in which you have experience in, positioning yourself as an authoritative figure on the subject.
After deciding on a topic area, you will need to become familiar with keywords, because many of the ways that you make money blogging are directly impacted by the keywords that you target.
- Keywords are search terms users enter on search engines to find relevant websites relating to their search.
- You can use the Google keyword search tool to identify keywords based on what people are searching for on the Internet.
- Use what you learn to identify high traffic, low-competition keyword phrases relevant to your niche when choosing blog post topics.
- Keywords are most profitable when they are narrow in scope. A vague term like "dogs" won't fare as well as a more specific keyword term like, "popular breeds of hypoallergenic dogs in the United States."
By writing about popular and most searched for terms you generate more traffic to your website. Traffic generation increases the chances of users clicking on the ads within your blog.
Keywords also play a critical role on the advertising side of the equation, particularly with the hugely popular Google AdSense platform. When you sign up for a Google AdSense account and embed the ads on your blog, Google will automatically "crawl" the content on your website to determine the subject matter. Taking several other factors into account, like the search history of web visitors, Google then displays advertising on your website that it deems relevant based on the keywords it associates with your content. This is why a blog about dogs is more likely to show advertising related to dog care than it is to show ads for online music services.
This is called contextual advertising. Google AdSense pays mostly on a CPC (cost-per-click) basis, meaning that you only get paid when a visitor to your site clicks on one of the ads. The amount that each click is worth is determined by the keyword and the relative level of competition for that keyword. More popular keywords tend to pay more than less popular keywords. You can choose to use text only or graphic ads, and you can select from a number of sizes and formats, including the ability to customize the font and color.
Amazon Associates is the advertising platform offered by Amazon.com. Unlike AdSense that pays on a per-click basis, the Associates program uses what is known as affiliate marketing. Under this system, you only get paid when a visitor to your site completes a specific action. In the case of Amazon, that would be completing a purchase through their online store. By embedding Amazon ads in the forms of links and banners on your blog that have your tracking ID in them, you can earn a commission for all the sales that you refer to Amazon. Rates start at 4 percent (meaning a $100 purchase will net you a $4 commission) and can go as high as 1 percent.
Many other companies offer affiliate programs too, so you can always look for a relevant advertising partner for your blog. Alternatively, there are affiliate networks like Market Leverage and Commission Junction where several affiliate marketing offers are available. See ProBlogger.net to learn about ten of the most popular affiliate programs for small to medium-size blogs.
There are many digital products available through the Clickbank online marketplace, including a range of videos and e-books. There is also an affiliate program on Clickbank for many of these products, so it is quite possible to make money blogging by promoting these products and earning a commission. The system is fundamentally similar to that of Amazon's.
A way that you can expand beyond this is to sell your own digital products through your blog, either privately or through an online marketplace like Clickbank. If you have an audio book, e-book or series of videos in your niche that you would like to sell, that is a great way to make money on your blog.
It is also quite possible to sell physical products too; if you are an artisan, you can sell your trinkets, jewelry and other products through a site like Etsy, promoting your Etsy Store through your blog. You can accomplish this by placing text and display ads for your own products on your blog, and by publishing relevant posts with embedded purchase links so that interested readers can easily order your products.
Another opportunity to make money on your blog is via paid posts. This is when an advertiser pays you to write a blog post on a particular topic, typically including a link back to the advertiser's website. There are several ad networks on the Internet that provide this service including Sponsored Reviews, and PayPerPost. Per Fderal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, these networks require some form of disclosure on your site that the blog post is a paid advertisement, so be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully.
When your blog becomes big enough, you can start offering private advertising direct to advertisers. This skips out on the advertising networks like Amazon Associates and Google AdSense, effectively earning you more money because you are no longer paying for the middle-man. You can be as creative as you want with your private advertising, offering sponsored posts, banner advertising, RSS advertising and more.
To attract advertisers, it is best to have an advertising page on your blog where you outline the advertising opportunities and how much you charge for each one. Be sure to include not only pricing, but contact information. It also helps if you include your blogging statistics, like how many monthly visitors you have, as this helps advertisers decide if they want to advertise on your site.
Can You Make Money Blogging?
The short answer is yes. There are a wide variety of ways to cash in with blogging, giving you the opportunity to try out many different methods and working with many different advertising networks in creative ways. Keeping up with new technologies will make it easier and more fun to make money blogging. It's not going to be easy. To be successful you will need to produce great content and market your blog to the right audiences, but the potential is certainly there to make a sizable income from your personal or professional blog.