Lots of high school athletes think they are going to make it in the pros. Lots of aspiring actors move to Hollywood area, convinced they will make it big. Lots of kids who start a band are certain they will be “discovered.”
And so it is with blogpreneurs. They see some superstars who have monetized their blogs and are making in excess of $100K a year.
“On paper”, it looks so easy. Just start a blog on a topic area that is “hot” right now, and watch the traffic and subscribers flow in. And then, once there is a big enough following, start selling advertising, become an affiliate marketer, sell your own stuff (ebooks, course, etc.), and just watch the money flow in.
In reality, just like aspiring athletes, actors, and rock stars, the percentage of blogpreneurs who actually “make it” is small. Here are the facts:
- 14% of bloggers make about $25 a year.
- 81% make about $100/month.
- 4% make as much as $10K/month.
- The majority make about $3.50/day.
This should be a good reality check for you, if you have aspirations of making a living through your blogging.
So, can you make this work for you? The short answer is yes, if you have the stamina, the motivation, the “hustle” mentality, and, above all, patience and a way to support yourself while you grow your blog.
You cannot begin to monetize a blog until it is successful. Your first task is to learn how to launch a blog that has the potential to make it big. Here are important strategies to consider.
You obviously have topics areas about which you have a passion. This is the first consideration. You cannot be an effective blogger without passion for the topic.
The next task is to determine if there is really an audience for your topic. Identify the demographic that will find value in what you have to say. If you intend to launch a blog on gourmet cooking, for example, how many people have an interest? Do the research.
Check out your competition. How many blogs are there on the same topic? If there are plenty, how can you make your blog unique and more popular?
You need an amazing site design. Do not scrimp here. Get a premier designer and spend the money. You need that site to promote your “brand,” and it must stand out among the competition. Again, spend the money.
You know this already. If you access a blog and begin to read the posts, you will not stay unless you are educated, entertained, or inspired. The bottom line is this: you want value if you spend your time reading something; your readers will want the same.
If you know what you want to write about but do not have the creativity to make that content amazing, then you need to find tools to do this. There are just numerous content creation strategies and tools you can use. You need to add visuals, media, interactivity, fun stuff for followers to do, surveys, even AR and VR experiences, etc. The better user experience you can give, the more your readers will come back for more and share your content with their tribes.
You have to grow your audience. Promote your content using social media channels that your target audience is on. Have discussion options on each post and respond to every comment. Ask questions that will stimulate discussion. You need to do a bit of studying on how to promote your content and use every possible strategy.
Your goal is to foster a community that continues to return and brings friends along.
Once you have at least 1,000 regular visitors per day and/or 1,000 email subscribers, you are ready to begin the monetization process. And you will simply need lots of hustle for these strategies.
This is probably the easiest strategy to implement. Basically, you will promote related products and services that are offered by other companies. Every time one of your visitors/followers clicks on an affiliate link (which you imbed naturally in your content, of course, and then accesses that link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.
To get started, access a few affiliate marketing clearinghouses and look at the options. Make sure the products/services are of high quality and related to your niche in some way.
The big pro of this is that it is passive income. And as your readership grows, the potential for commissions does too.
So, you know what this is all about. You will offer advertising spots to others and place those ads on your blog. If you have a blog that is growing in popularity, you can probably market more easily. Advertisers want to see a strong and increasing following of an audience that they market to.
This takes research and your ability to “sell” the value of your blog. It also means that you will be willing to irritate your followers a bit by having those ads on your space. Just don’t go overboard and flood all of your “free” space with ads.
As a beginner, you will probably want to start with Google AdSense, because a lot of the work will be done for you.
Add premium content options for your followers – content that goes above and beyond what your blogs offer. Most commonly, this is in the form of e-books, white papers, resource lists, etc.
The best way to get “takers” for your products is to promise the value and to keep the download price as cheap as possible – just a few dollars.
The big pro of this strategy is that it produces ongoing, stable income, because the price is set. You don’t have to rely on anyone else for the income. You will also boost your reputation as an expert in your niche, and this is always a good thing. The one con, though, is that this will take time. Your e-book or white paper has to be worth the price, or your reputation will suffer. Take the time, do it right, and offer real value to your customers.
Once your reputation as an expert is entrenched and your brand is recognized, you may be ready to start providing other services – consulting one-on-one, offering a course, charging for access to a webinar, offering online workshops, etc.
This option is for those bloggers who have a large following that is loyal and avid. These are followers who value what you offer, who have developed a relationship with you, and who want more from you.
This is a great money-maker; however, developing a course or engaging in consulting work means that you take lots of preparation time. You can’t go in half-assed, or your reputation is ruined.
You’ve heard about flipping houses. Well, a lot of hugely successful bloggers flip their blogs. The concept is simple. Once your blog is making bunches of money, you may want to branch out and open additional blogs or even make a career change. You can offer your blog up for sale. This, of course, gives you a one-time chunk of cash, and that may be a good thing. In general, the price you set should be about one-half of your annual income.
Finding buyers can be a problem, but there are sites you can access to offer your blog.
If anything, this information should drive a point home. Blogs are filling up cyberspace. Most are connected to ongoing businesses. But there are a large number of standalone blogs that are popular and profitable.
You will not be a Huffington Post or a Buzzfeed overnight. You may never be that big. But if you are really committed to making a living; if you are passionate about your niche; if you have the enthusiasm and the hustle, you can probably make a “go” of it. Just make certain that you have enough reserve on hand to eat while you pursue this career.