Once you’ve been blogging for a while, you eventually ask yourself the question, “Could I make money from doing this?”
Making extra cash from your blogging hobby is totally possible — but you have to work at it. Understanding the various income streams you have to choose from is a key aspect of making it happen. But first, you need to have accomplished a few things. No matter your niche or style of blogging, if it appeals to an audience of some kind, you can start working your way toward earning some money from your side gig.
Keep reading to learn how to make money with a blog!
If you haven’t already started your blog and created a voice for yourself, that’s the obvious starting point for your journey to becoming a paid blogger. Develop the style, tone and general idea of your blog. Consider who your audience is. We recommend investing in a self-hosted blog, rather than a free blog, so you have total control over your site. Once you’ve done this, you can start working toward earning some extra cash.
Before you can start monetizing your blog, you need:
- A domain name — This is your identity on the Internet — it’s what sets you apart from every other website out there. It ups your credibility, makes you stand out and builds your brand.
- A web host — To be a reliable blog, your readers need to be able to access your site whenever they want. Your web host is essentially the server where all of your website’s files are stored. A good web-hosting service will keep your website up and running 99.9 percent of the time, while a less reputable one could leave you with a site that crashes when more than a few people are using it.
- A track record of creating great content — You need to be able to prove you can maintain readership and produce quality content before you can try to make money from your blog. You won’t be able to sustain advertisers or another income stream without readers.
Once you’ve built your site, it’s time to start growing your audience and establishing yourself online. To do this, you need to:
Create Useful Content
You need to understand what readers want out of a blog in order to create truly useful content. In general, readers are looking for your blog to accomplish one of five things: solve a problem, calm a fear, teach them something, explain how to do something or entertain them. For everything you post, ask yourself which of those five things your piece accomplishes.
Connect with Other People
The best way to spread the word about your blog is to reach out to other bloggers, readers and even silent surfers online. Comment on other blogs. Participate in group discussions or debates — civilly, of course. Reach out to others in your niche. Find people who you think would enjoy your blog and build relationships with them. Even online, it’s all about word of mouth.
Establish a Platform
As you spread the word about your blog and put yourself out there on the Interwebs, it’s important to be authentic and clear about your personality and your blog’s platform. Continue to learn about your niche and build your credibility.
Choose an Income Stream to Start With
Here’s where it gets tricky. You have five primary options to choose from as your way of making money, each of which we’ll look at in detail below. Remember, you don’t need to limit yourself to just one income stream! In fact, most successful bloggers earn their living from two, three, or more different streams.
Types of Income Streams for Bloggers
You can make money from your blog in several different ways, and none of them is the right way or the best way. Every blogger combines these income streams differently, and there are several approaches you could take. However, one thing holds true: The key is to use multiple streams, rather than only one.
The five primary income streams bloggers use are:
1. Display Advertising
Display ads are basically like billboards or ads in magazines — it’s an advertisement that goes on your blog, typically in the sidebar, footer, header or in your content. They’re usually related to your blog’s topic.
To get a display ad, you need to go through an ad network, which is a company that connects bloggers and advertisers. Google AdSense is the most popular, but there’s also Beacon Ads, Sovrn, Media.net, BlogHer, Blogads, Rivit, Federated Media and Sway.
Although display ads are easy to set up, you need to really build up your traffic before you can start making lots of money from them.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketers are bloggers who promote another person or company’s products or services somewhere within a post or elsewhere on your site. Using a unique affiliate link, you’ll earn a commission for each time a reader clicks on it and makes a purchase — or does another task specified by the affiliate, such as signing up for a newsletter or starting a free trial. One popular affiliate network is Amazon Affiliates, but there’s also ShareASale, Commission Junction and many more.
The pros to this method are that startup is simple and it’s usually easy to include the links naturally into your content, since the advertisers are typically related to your blog’s content already. However, you have to be cautious of linking to products or companies that aren’t reliable or don’t have good reputations. Vet the brands you represent before telling your readers to use their products, or they’ll end up correlating their bad experience with the company with your blog.
3. Sponsored Content
Writing a sponsored post means you’re working with a brand to produce original content that promotes their products or service. Examples include product reviews, giveaways or guides that are made possible by a brand. Click here to see examples of types of sponsored content — all types of content that you can get paid to create with our brands!
This type of income stream has a lot of benefits. You can earn a decent amount per post, up front, which is more guaranteed than other streams of income. However, you just want to make sure you balance it out with high quality, non-sponsored content so your audience sees your authenticity. Click here to join our influencer network and start finding sponsored content opportunities!
4. Digital Products
If advertising isn’t your style, consider selling digital products to your readers. You could create e-books, online courses, printables, toolkits or even audio/video recordings. Tap into your interests and your blog’s concept to create a product you know your audience would be interested in.
The obvious con to this option is that you have to create these products, but since they’re in digital form, you avoid the hassle of shipping physical items to your customers. You might even have fun making these products, since you’re probably interested in them, too.
The Internet is a great place to gain customers for services you offer. Think about your skills and ask yourself, “Could my audience benefit from this somehow?”
Examples of services you could offer your online audience include:
- Freelance writing, designing or editing
- Social media management
- Inspirational speaking
- Tutoring or coaching
The options for this income stream method are virtually endless.
How to Make Money with YOUR Blog
You’re probably asking, “How should I decide which income streams to choose?” Unfortunately, as mentioned at the beginning of this post, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to make money from your blog. You need to consider factors such as your audience’s desires and motivations, how much traffic your blog gets, the amount of time you have to put into this endeavor and how much money you need to make.
Though it is absolutely a wise idea to use multiple income streams for your blog, you should focus on implementing them one at a time. That way, you can put your full attention into learning everything you can about capitalizing on that particular stream before you move to the next.
Fortunately, Rainmaker Collective makes it easy to tie in sponsored opportunities as a potential income stream, without having to focus too much on it right away. All you have to do to be considered for opportunities is apply to join our network. Once you are in the network, we will do the work of finding and matching you with opportunities, only contacting you when a brand is ready to work with you. So, if you haven’t yet, consider taking the plunge and joining our network as an influencer.
Remember, there is one certainty to making money from your blog: You can’t do it with just one income stream. Make sure to use two or more of these methods if you really want to see any financial gain. Earning cash from your site isn’t impossible, but it takes a good amount of dedication, time and in some cases, creativity. With a little of each, you’re sure to make enough to pocket some extra money each week from what used to be just a hobby.
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