There is a blogging revolution going on. Large numbers of people are finding that they really do have the knowledge to start off their own blog sites and even generate traffic to them. But, how realistic is this as an income method?
#1 With Your Own Blog + Ads
Developing your own blog has become surprisingly easy. Tools like the WordPress platform mean that people can develop their own blog in a matter of minutes, even without any previous experience.
However, these tools don’t tend to provide people with the knowledge and understanding of how to actually make money from a blog, and many people struggle in figuring out how to even get people interested in their blog site.
The most common approach to making money from a blog is to try to drive up traffic as much as possible and to then make money from ads, such as through Google AdSense or other companies. For blog sites that have managed to amass a huge amount of traffic this can sometimes be a good approach, but for most blog sites – it simply doesn’t work.
About Ad Revenue
One of the reasons for this is that revenue from ads is pretty low. This means that the amount of money you get from ads is pretty mediocre unless you are very successful. In fact, many of the sites that have been incredibly successful out there have managed to do so largely by luck. I saw one calculation that said if you want to make $100,000 per year from a blog you need about 100,000 visits per day. That's a HUGE amount considering a lot of blogs rarely reach more than a few hundred per day!
For example, one blog that sparked headlines is called 300 Sandwiches, and is basically a blog about sandwich creation centered around the way the author’s boyfriend said he would marry her if she made 300 sandwiches. The site ended up spurring a large amount of controversy, including articles in places like the New York Post and Time magazine. Needless to say, this strongly influenced traffic to the site and consequently ad revenue.
Most blog sites can’t count on popularity like this. So, if you write your own blog, you have to fight tooth and nail for traffic – against many similar sites.
This is even more difficult if you are doing a personal blog, where you share perspectives, events and opinions. In reality, most people simply aren’t interested in reading this type of blog, and there are so many like it already out there.
Realistically, you can earn money from blogging through ads, but it is a very slow approach and the amount of money you earn is never likely to be that much. Additionally, you have to maintain a strong focus on posting regularly and developing something that is different than your competitors.
In fact, the vast majority of bloggers don’t make any money at all from their blogs, and a significant amount of the ones who do make tiny amounts of money that are barely worth bothering with.
This particular method isn't for me, but some people do it, and make a full time income at it. If you want to learn more about how to start your own website, I recommend you read about Siterubix and how to get started with that. Not many website builders allow you to monetize your website, but Siterubix was designed specifically for people that want to create a website about their hobbies and make money from it.
#2 Blogging For Others
The other major approach for getting paid to blog is to write for others. A lot of people like this idea, at least in theory, but most advocates for it completely underestimate how challenging it is.
Yes, you can get paid blogging for other people, and some people even make quite a lot of money doing this. However, getting to the point where you are earning money blogging for others takes a considerable amount of time, effort and chance.
Most of the time, when people are looking for someone to blog for them, they are looking for a guest blogger. This means that you have to have an established website that they are interested in link sharing with, or you have to be a credible writer in the field.
This means that you actually have to develop a reputation as a writer or a blogger online and that really does take time. It also involves a lot of networking and figuring out the best ways to promote yourself. Many people find that it can take years to make the connections they need to be successful as a blog writer for others, and even then, it is still a challenging way to make money.
You can also be a ghost writer, which means that you blog for others under their name. It can be tough to land good gigs, but this is another legit way to write for blogs and make money. A flat fee is usually paid per article, or per number of words. As a writer you may be responsible only for the article writing, or you might be required to add pictures, format text, and add other features to the post like video.
Honestly, I don’t like the idea of making money by writing posts for others, because it makes you reliant on other people.
It means that you have to actively seek out work on a regular basis. This can be tricky, and it often means that you have to make many compromises to meet the needs of particularly demanding customers. Then, at the end of the day, when you aren't working, you aren't making money.
This brings me to my #1 choice for getting paid to blog.
#3 Affiliate Marketing On Your Blog (Top Pick)
Blogging for others and making money through ads are both challenging approaches – but there is a third way to get paid to blog. This is affiliate marketing, and it is the approach that I personally advocate.
Affiliate marketing gives you a lot more control and it also offers more potential for income.
The biggest difference is that affiliate marketing involves trying to sell something(s). In particular, you are promoting products and services that people actually want to buy in the first place.
With affiliate marketing, you still create a blog, but you have the potential to create a blog with more purpose. For example, some affiliate marketing blogs talk about tips and tricks for parenting, some review fishing gear while others offer nutritional advice. Essentially, if what you are promoting can be sold online, then it is possible to develop an affiliate marketing site around it.
Millions and millions of people are searching for information online every day. Many times, the answer to their questions is a paid product or service. When you write the information they are looking for, you can get your site found, and make a commission for promoting other people's products.
Personally, I love the potential behind affiliate marketing.
You earn money based off the sales you make, earning a percentage of your sales. How big that percentage is depends on the product itself and the company, but there is a huge variation. As your site develops, the amount of sales that you can get really does increase. As you grow your knowledge of marketing and business, you can focus on turning more visits into customers.
I know a number of people who now make full-time income from affiliate marketing (including myself) and have even quit their jobs to focus exclusively on making money this like. Realistically, it is possible to make tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars from affiliate marketing sales with just a few hundred visits to your blog per day. This sure beats the ad revenue stats I quoted above, doesn't it?!
From my own experience, I can say without hesitation that affiliate marketing is the most consistent and reliable approach to making money through a blog. It’s something that people can be successful at even if they’ve never had their own blog before and even if they have no experience online. How do I know? Because I started out a complete newbie, and eventually made enough money to quit my job and go full time (about 3 years now).
Wealthy Affiliate is the training center where I learned how to do this, and it's my #1 recommended way to learn. This is a very positive community to be a part of, and they have been churning out money-making pros for over 9 years now. I am still an active member and even offer 1-on-1 support for anyone that joins through my link. They offer a free account to get started so you can see everything inside the community without any risk.
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