Making Money Blogging – Four Paths to Success

How to Make Money Blogging

Yes, you can most certainly make money as a full-time blogger.  You should never underestimate how badly the market needs good writers and quality content. 

But if you’re talking about making money off of your personal blog, you should also understand that building up traffic for a blog takes time, and if blogging is what you’re wanting to do for a living, then finding outside revenue sources can be vital in supporting yourself financially.

Here are three simple steps for helping you become a full-time professional blogger.

I) When just starting out with personal blogging, understand that the affiliate-based revenue model has been replacing the advertising-based revenue model for quite some time.  You need to understand what a lot of bloggers have understood for years. While highly touted, Google AdSense really isn’t worth the time and effort because of pitifully low conversion and payout rates.

So how do you monetize your blog?  Pick a niche, any niche, and after you’ve found your passion, think about products associated with that passion that you might be able to sell on your blog.  Once you’ve found those products, start hunting on the internet for affiliate programs that pay you a commission for selling them, and when writing about your niche, find ways to incorporate those products into your articles.

To understand why this model is starting to replace the AdSense model, all you need to do is look to the “Big Cahoona” of internet affiliate programs – Amazon.  For starters, a single successful conversion from an Amazon link at your website could be worth more in commission then a dozen Google AdSense links (especially since Amazon pays you commission on the entire basket of goods that a customer purchases, not simply the single item that they clicked on at your site).

The way to test whether Google AdSense is actually worth wasting blog space on is quite simple.  How many times have you actually clicked on a Google advertisement when surfing the web?  Better still, how many times have you seen Google display advertisements for companies that you’ve never heard of in your life?  What are the chances that you’re going to clink on that link, let alone give them money? 

Even worse, because of low conversion and payout rates, bloggers will often over-saturate their site with Google ads, which in effect turns their site into a used car dealership, which lowers their conversion and payout rates even further

Think about it.  Whenever you’ve visited a site that was saturated with pop-up ads and which came across as “tacky” because the site is overloaded with flashy advertisements, how long do you usually stick around?  Even better, have you ever bought anything from those sites?   

Compare Adsense with Amazon, which is a premium, recognizable brand with a massive and loyal online following.  What do you think that trust and brand recognition can do for your conversion rates?  That conversion rate can be even higher if you not only post links to products within your articles, but also post the core products that you talk about the most in your articles in your blog’s banners and sidebars.

II) If you’re writing is good enough, and you develop a sizable following, start monetizing your content.  There several ways you can do this.  You can start up an email subscription service and charge a subscription fee, you can “hire” guest bloggers in your niche (meaning they pay you for the privilege of gaining access to your readers and web traffic), and you can write and sell an e-book (which can make some serious money).

Finally, if you just started blogging, invest into an eye-catching logo and get it trademarked.  Why?  Because if your website has a memorable logo associated with it, you can also start selling t-shirts and other hard merchandise. 

III) Building up a personal blog takes time and commitment, so to support yourself, find work and start publishing on Fiverr.  The first thing you need to understand about making money with Fiverr is that you can make a heck of a lot more than just $5.00 per gig if you build up a solid reputation and customer base, and being that you’re trying to make a living as a professional blogger, you should take your reputation seriously, otherwise shoddy work and business practices (including plagiarism) can come back to haunt you.

There are a lot of Fiverr clone sites out there, but there are two things that you should take into consideration before signing up to them.  The first is that even if you’re able to charge more for your services on other sites, the level of traffic that those sites get can’t even hold a candle to the volume of business that Fiverr receives every day. 

Second, a lot of Fiverr clone sites such as Gigbucks.com have horrible reputations for stiffing sellers on the money they’ve earned, so if you’re going to sell your services on another site, be sure you know what you’re getting into.

IV) Use sites like Fiverr to gain experience and build up a portfolio of work for more elite writing sites.  If you’re just getting into blogging, some of these sites would include allindiewriters.com, JournalismJobs.com, problogger.com, freelancer.com, as well Whisper Jobs (ed2010.com/whisper-jobs/).

Some of these sites pay very well for assignments (between $100 to $300 per gig), and many can also lead to long-term projects that can last several months and even full-time employment. 

But what’s the problem when it comes to actually landing one of these assignments? 

Well, you often confront the same “Catch 22” that you confront in the traditional publishing industry.  To land these jobs you need to have been published before, but getting that first publication is impossible because…you have to have been published before.  There’s a circular logic that can be incredibly frustrating when trying to break into the publishing industry, and it leaves a lot of young writers being disqualified from the most profitable assignments because they can’t get their foot on the first rung of the ladder.

But blogging is a little bit easier, and you’ll find sellers who are sympathetic to young writers and are willing to judge you off the quality of unpublished material.  This is why sites such as Fiverr can be of great use.  Not only do you get paid for your gigs, they can also help you build up a portfolio of work that can be used to secure better paying jobs.

Conclusion – If you’re looking to make money from personal blogging, then I’d strongly suggest embracing the affiliate business model initially, and once you’re blog really gains steam, finding ways to monetize your blog through email services, authors paying you to blog on your site, as well as logo t-shirts.

When it comes to professional blogging, build up a body of work with sites such as Fiverr, and try to use that work to break into the big leagues with sites such as allindiewriters.com       

Glossary

  • Blogging — a website (a Web log or online journal) that displays a writer’s posting of opinions, experiences and observations in chronological order.
  • Niche — a distinct segment of a market in which a business’s services or goods are marketed to a particular group of people.
  • Affiliate Program — an automated electronic marketing program that involves a merchant who recruits website owners for the purpose of displaying affiliate widgets or advertising banners on their site. Merchants provide an incentive (or commissions) if a customer clicks on the advertisement and purchases a product from the merchant site.
  • Fiverr — a global online marketplace where people buy or sell online services (e.g. freelance writing jobs, transcription, video production, data entry, etc.) starting at five dollars.

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