You’re asked by a friend what you do for a living and you say, “I’m a blogger” They proceed to look at you with a blank stare for what seems like an eternity until they finally ask sceptically, “Do blogs really make money?”
It’s a question you have either been asked as a blogger or maybe you’ve wondered about the answer yourself. Check out these six-figure/per month income statistics for full time bloggers and use them to silence the naysayers if you’d like.
They are the exceptional examples of course, but it does validate blogging as a profession. Like any writer, success depends on the person-there are good ones and bad ones and everything in between!
Universities now offer courses on this subject and full time blogging is becoming a respected job choice. It’s also an essential part of most business plans. If you are unsure about starting your own blog, you can write for someone else’s blog!
OK, so how does a blog make money? Depending on what type of blog or online business we’re talking about, and how savvy the owner is, it can vary widely. Some bloggers have great content, excellent traffic and an awesome social presence, but have never monetized their site. Here are some ways they earn an income with their blog:
The Top Ten Ways A Blog Makes Money (in order of prevalence)
1. Adsense – Also known as Pay Per Click and while there are other PPC programs, Google is by far the most popular. These are the ads you see on blogs that when clicked on will take you to that advertiser’s page. When a reader clicks on an ad on your site, you get paid a small (stress “small”) commission. The amount of your income from PPC relies on traffic and if your readers click on your ads. It costs you or your reader nothing to do this, but there is a science to it and you must follow Google’s very strict rules or you are banned, exiled, voted off the island forever. The amount of money some blogs make with Adsense is staggering (like Huffington Post’s 2.3 million per month with Pay Per Click).
2. Affiliate Links – these are links that you put on your blog given to you from an advertiser that will take your reader to your chosen advertiser’s website. You get paid by click, but usually is a percentage of the sale according to the agreement made with your .affiliate, anywhere from pennies to hundreds of dollars. Some of the top affiliate networks are Commission Junction and Linkshare (now Rakuten)
3. Selling Items or Ebooks – Sort of self-explanatory, isn’t it? The items might be your creation, or promotion of someone else’s books for a commission. Ecommerce websites aren’t needed for this. A business Paypal account can help with this.
4. Amazon Affiliate Program – Referred to as their Associate Program, it’s technically a subset of affiliate links. I consider it a way to monetize your blog all by itself and many do. You can learn everything you need to know on Amazon’s website. They make it very easy to create links for your website with a toolbar you can install easily on your Amazon account. The commissions on Amazon products are rather small (4%-10%)and based on your monthly volume.
5. Ads – These are privately funded ads from advertisers that normally contact you. These can pay very well, but you need to be very established with excellent stats like regular traffic and good rankings.
6. Membership Site – You may offer something that others will benefit from on an ongoing basis, like access to a resource library or personal consulting. Membership sites usually require their members to enter a user ID and password for access for a recurring fee. Once upon a time, it was costly and difficult to set up this type of site, but now there are plugins that make this possible at little or no charge to you. Once again, Paypal (for a percentage of amount collected) provides the means and a link to set up a recurring charge on your site.
7. Offering Services – Services like consulting, training, coaching and the like can be profitable if you have the right credentials.
8. Creating Paid Directories or Job Boards – Not as common anymore, but offering a paid listing on your blog for jobs, classified ads or services can be a good passive income once your following and traffic is established. Usually this is combined with other ways of monetizing and has become much easier using free plugins WordPress offers.
9. Building a List or Data Mining – Less common and a more questionable way to earn money from your blog. Building a massive email list and then selling it, or using your list to sell items can be very lucrative. This usually takes traffic that comes with time and/or alot of effort. Not always such an honorable way to build in an income in many people’s eyes, depending on how it is done.
10. Newsletters, Webinars, Etc. – OK, I’m really out of ideas, and newletters and webinars are really more a way to promote your blog or products. There are a number of miscellaneous ways to monetize a blog, but probably not for beginners. Most blogs find their incomes come from a variety of sources. Newsletters can enhance your income by building your traffic and reviewing your affiliate’s products. Webinars are really only newsletters 2.0. Holding events online and off have been shown to be very lucrative when well done.
Anyone else have some ideas I missed? (please comment below!)