Cash in on writing: how to make money with your blog
The big dream.
But can you make it reality?
Can you make money with your blog?
I can tell you right now, you can’t write 5 scrappy blog posts and then slap on a load of adverts and wake up the next morning to find you’re a millionaire.
Earning money by blogging doesn’t work like that.
But if you’re a confident writer, you’re ready to learn and you plan carefully before you put monetization strategies into place, there’s no reason why your blog shouldn’t make you some cash.
There’s no quick way to make money from blogging, so accept that you’ll need to put in a lot of work and that it will take around six months to a year to start earning anything from your blog. That’s because your money comes from your audience, so until you’ve built up an audience of readers, you don’t have any customers.
Deciding what to sell
To earn money from your writing, you’ll need to monetize your blog – that is, you’ll need to use your blog to advertise some kind of product or service that people will pay for:
- digital products to download, such as ebooks or online courses;
- an online shop with a range of physical products connected with your niche topic;
- advertising space on your site;
- your services as a consultant /expert;
- your services as a salesperson who is recommending other people’s products as an affiliate and getting a cut of the price.
If you have a free blog, you may not be allowed to sell anything or put adverts on your blog – check their rules before you waste time signing up with a lot of schemes you can’t use.
Multiple strands of income
While your blog’s still new, you aren’t likely to earn much money with most of these. If you have no readers (traffic) then people won’t pay to advertise on your site, and any products or services you recommend or offer for sale won’t get bought if no one sees your blog.
So if you want to make money quickly with a blog, you’ll need to pay out for online advertising before you’ve earned anything.
You can offer a mixture of these – one route to earning an income from your blog is to create many strands of income, so you get a little money from many sources, then focus on building your traffic to increase your sales.
You can write ebooks connected with your blog topic and publish them free on Amazon and other sites. You may not sell many – but it’s all cash trickling in. Once your blog is established, when you write about relevant topics, you can mention your ebooks and include a link to your Amazon listings, or create a Books page to make your ebooks available directly from you via auto-responder, so you get all the money.
Once you have established yourself as an expert in your field, you can create automated training courses (or more expensive ones where you give trainees your personal attention).
- Affiliate schemes
You sign up with companies, recommend their products to your readers using a special hyperlink, and if they click through and buy stuff, you get a share of the money.
It doesn’t cost anything extra to your audience, but if you recommend rubbish products you’ve never tried, you could lose credibility. It’s free to sign up as an affiliate, but it’s time-consuming to sign up with lots of different sites at the beginning.
- Google AdSense
You can’t do this from Day 1: you need an established blog. Google AdSense scans your blog and decides which adverts would go best with your content. You decide where the ads go and how large they are. You only get paid if people click on your ads, and you’re not allowed to click them yourself or ask your readers to click on them. You won’t earn much unless you have a lot of traffic, and the adverts might be off-putting to your readers if they’re too intrusive.
- Advertising space
You can sell advertising space direct to your customers by adding a Paypal button on your blog. Again, this will only work with established sites with reasonable traffic.
- Partnership schemes
You partner up with another blogger to offer your course or ebook to their audience, and you give them a large percentage of the selling price. Again, this is usually for established bloggers only.
- Online shop
You sell digital or physical products connected with your blog topic. When you write posts, you add relevant links to products your readers will find helpful. For example, if your blog is about gardening and you have an online shop which sells hedge trimmers and lawn-mowers, you might write a post about How to Trim Your Hedge, including a section on choosing the right hedge trimmer, with links to the hedge trimmers in your shop. You wouldn’t link to the lawn-mowers, because that post isn’t relevant.
Selling Consultancy services
If you have enough experience in your field, your readers might be willing to pay for your personal attention, either on an hourly-rate or daily-rate basis or by paying for fixed rate services such as creative writing critiques.
You’ll need to decide what your services are worth on an hourly rate, and whether you’ll charge additional costs such as travel on top.
You could set up a Skype account to offer online consultations, as many clients will prefer to speak to you face-to-face. Ensure you are dressed appropriately and that the background which will be visible behind you fits in with the image you wish to present!
Building an Audience Business
A longer-term money-making strategy is to be patient, teach yourself everything from scratch, spend six months to a year making your blog worth reading and promoting your blog. You concentrate on traffic-building and grow an audience of devoted fans, who will buy the products you recommend, simply because you recommended them, and who will be happy to pay hundreds of dollars for your personal advice and attention. If this appeals to you, Danny Iny at Mirasee is the man to follow.
Here’s how it works:
The first step is to create a really excellent digital product that your readers would gladly pay for. But you don’t sell it.
Instead, you set up a ‘landing page’ where you give that product away FREE – all you ask in return is their email addresses.
You set up a sequence of emails via an autoresponder system such as MailChimp or AWeber, to keep in touch with these people, let them know when you’ve created new content on your blog and send them more excellent free advice.
By now, they think you’re wonderful and knowledgeable and would happily buy stuff you suggest just because YOU suggested it.
When you’ve got enough email subscribers, you contact them and tell them about your products/services, not just to make money out of them but because you feel these are genuinely helpful to your readers.
Long-term success with this strategy requires you to be authentic – trying to make a fast buck by recommending over-priced rubbish that wastes your readers’ money or random items you haven’t researched is a greedy tactic that will damage your reputation.
Whether your blog is a niche blog about a particular subject, or a writer’s blog to showcase your poetry or novels, there’s another way to earn money. That is to ask for donations to help with your running costs, using a Paypal Donate button.
Your readers know it’s taken a lot of hard work to build your blog, and they are so grateful for your wonderful free advice or so thrilled by your amazing, top-quality writing skills that they click the button and give you money – anything from a dollar to hundreds of dollars. You hope!
You can see an example of a Donate button in the right-hand column – feel free to test it.