34SP.com Blog

How To Make Your Blog Pay Your Bills

34SP.com is proud to present this great piece on how to make money from your blog. It was written for us by Ms. Kitty Lusby who we met recently at WordCamp Las Vegas. Kitty is an accomplished writer and blogger and shares her expertise frequently online. We hope that it gives you a few new ideas on how to drive additional traffic to your website and how to then earn money from those visitors.

My Story

When I decided to become a professional blogger, people thought I was crazy.

It’s not even a real career, they’d say.

Or, sometimes:

You can’t make money from a blog. I’m sure there are some REAL jobs out there that will pay you to write.

Nobody believed I knew how to make money online…

But here’s what happened:

Six months later, I was making enough money as a pro blogger to support myself. Blogging is now my full time career, and I’ve never looked back.

The truth is, when I started out, I had no idea how to make money as a blogger.

I wanted to take control of my income, since working “real” jobs in the mortgage industry meant that my paycheck, and therefore my livelihood, was subject to the whims of industry regulations, economic swings, and corporate politics.

That wasn’t my idea of a great lifestyle.

Writing had always been my personal escape – why couldn’t it be my career? Unfortunately for me, I didn’t know a single trick for monetizing a blog, and I was clueless about how to build blog traffic. All I knew was that some people were doing this full time and making money, and if those people could do it, then there was no reason I couldn’t do it to.

It’s been a long road, but I’ve learned a lot since those early days, and I continue to learn today. While I can’t exactly teach you everything I know in this one post, I can help you get a solid start towards blogging as a career.

You can start making money today.

This information isn’t just for new bloggers, either:

Whether you’re an experienced writer who wants to know how to start making money from your craft, you’re already making money and want to maximize that income, or you’re an entrepreneur who needs to know how to use a blog as a business tool, you’ll find something of value here.

 

How To Use This Guide

Successful bloggers diversify their income, meaning they make money from a variety of different sources.

Your blog will bring in multiple income streams if you’re willing to put forth the effort to build it, and as you grow your audience and hone your skills, you’ll make more money. To give a sense of that progression, the various blog income sources listed here are grouped like this:

Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced

Don’t let the labels fool you, though. Even the beginner methods can bring a serious income if you get good at them. Just because something is more difficult doesn’t necessarily mean it pays better.

This guide is meant to help you get started towards making money on the internet through blogging, so we’re not going into too much detail. Use this post to help you determine the methods you’ll use to start making money immediately, and identify anything you’d like to start working towards. Each item discussed will go over the pros and cons of the individual method, as well as give you some blogging tips that will help you on your way.

 

How To Make Money Blogging – Before You Begin

-If you’re looking for information on how to start a blog for profit, either as a career path or just as a supplement to your primary income, you need traffic to see results. Posting on a schedule, reading and commenting on other people’s blogs, and writing great content are Blogging 101: the first steps towards building a following. Even after your blog has millions of readers, those three things will remain key to your blogging success.

-Many people use blogs as sort of a virtual journal, writing about whatever they’re thinking and feeling on a given day. While that’s a great use of the medium, and you’ll hone your writing skills and make new friends, it’s not a good model if you want to blog for a living. Focus your content on a specific subject, brand, or idea, then stick to it.

-There is no such thing as a blog “for everybody.” Know what kind of audience you’re writing for. The more specific you can be when focusing on an audience, the bigger your audience will grow, because you’re speaking their language and giving them something they want to read.

With those three things in mind, you’re ready to start making money, and you can see that profit today.

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Beginner

 

Affiliate Marketing

As soon as you start your blog, you can begin using affiliate marketing to make money. Affiliate marketing means including links to products and services that other people sell, and every time one of your readers clicks through that link and purchases something from that third party, you’re paid a commission.

For example, if you click this link and buy a boat, I’ll make a commission. That link is meant to just be an example, but if you DO buy the boat, it would make my day.

At the very least, you should sign up for the Amazon affiliate marketing program (click here to go to their site) since they have such a wide variety of products you could potentially market. There are a lot of affiliate programs out there, and you can use more than one. Just make sure that you’re marketing products your readers would appreciate and actually want to buy.

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Display Ads

These are the banner ads you see in the side margins or at the top and bottom of posts on most widely followed blogs.

Basically, display ads fall into two categories:

Ad networks like the ever-popular Google Adsense are a low-maintenance solution where an agency acts as an intermediary between your website and advertisers to help you sell the space on your website.

Private ads are the same thing, except there’s no middle man – you connect directly with potential advertisers yourself.

Most people, beginners especially, use agencies because it’s easier, even though your profit will be slightly less than if you worked directly with advertisers.

You can monetize your blog without ads if you prefer. Some bloggers refuse to use advertising widgets at all, and that’s fine. In the world of blogging, everything is optional.

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Intermediate

 

Product and Service Sales

As obvious as it seems, you can make money by selling things.

For those with a traditional business background, or for businesses who are using blogging as part of their outreach program, selling your products and services might be your primary income stream for your blog. In fact, a lot of people start blogs specifically to sell their products. It’s a fantastic business model.

Don’t limit yourself to physical goods, either: one of the great things about the marketplace today is the availability and popularity of purely digital products, like ebooks, online courses, and premium entertainment content. This is an opportunity to be really creative!

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Freelancing

Instead of working for an employer at an hourly rate, freelancers complete specific jobs for a portfolio of clients and are paid for completing that job.

Sometimes you’ll pick up a one-time assignment for a company, but more often, freelancers form relationships with a core group of businesses that regularly enlist their services. If you’re diligent, you can find a variety of freelance jobs in blogging, social media marketing, and other types of writing and digital services.

Freelancing can be an income in itself. It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

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Paid Promotions – Sponsored and Underwritten Content

This is a little more advanced than the other topics in this category, but you can get started when you’re fairly new.

There are a variety of ways that you might get paid for writing specific content on your blog, but mostly you can divide it into two groups:

Sponsored posts are posts on your blog that you write in conjunction with a business who is paying you to write it. Sometimes, they’ll give you a specific topic, and sometimes they’ll give you the actual completed content.

Underwritten posts are your content, whatever you would normally write, and a company pays to include a note like “This post is brought to you by 34SP.com!”

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Advanced

 

Building Your Brand

For most ambitious businesses, this is usually the big goal:

When you’ve built your brand to the point where it has intrinsic value, people will pay you just to use your name. At this point, you’re no longer selling products or services, even if you have a webstore; you’re selling YOU and your image.

As a beginner, it might be difficult to grasp this concept, and this doesn’t have to be your goal. You can make a significant income from the other methods listed in this piece without ever executing a complicated business plan to turn your blog into a marketable brand.

At this level, the money comes from things like product endorsements, speaking engagements and appearances, and collaborations with other successful businesses.

For example:

The blogger Bakerella, who started the cake pops craze, has built value in her own brand. She has branded toys and books, and works with major companies that want to use the Bakerella name in their own marketing.

Since I’ve mentioned disclosing your business relationships so many times, I should tell you that I have no affiliation with Bakerella. She doesn’t even know I exist. I just like cake pops.

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It’s a lot of information to digest, but don’t let it intimidate you. You don’t have to do everything listed here to see success as a professional blogger. Figure out what you want out of blogging, and go for it!

Are there any ways that you make money blogging which weren’t listed here? Leave a comment! The rest of the community would love to hear from you.