When people ask me how they can start a blog (and I get asked this a lot) the first thing I'd like to tell them it's this.
Forget about things like what domain name or which hosting service to use.. Forget about the great blog designs you see online..
To start a blog, ask the following..
- What am I going to put on the blog.
- Do I have enough material to create 30 good posts?
- Will I be posting regularly once ever week or ten days for the next 6 months?
- Do I have something to write about that I am interested and passionate about?
- Is what I what I am writing about also the kind of information people are looking for online?
What this means that it is very easy get caught up in the design and technical details of starting a blog. But these things have become increasingly easy over the years. You have great looking ready made templates to use and content management systems like WordPress make it really easy to publish.
Anyone can set up a blog for you for a fee but only you can create the great content required.
Majority of people are excited about seeing their domain name online. They happily create their blogs on WordPress, blogger etc but they don't have a very good idea about how to carry on beyond that, in order to convert their blogging into a moneymaking enterprise.
It's all very well to say things like write only what you are passionate about and don't worry about monetising, just create a great blog, but it doesn't quite work like that. Yes, we definitely suggest sticking close to your interests. That will be a big help in creating content and keeping you inspired all throughout your blogging journey. But you want your blog to make money and that is probably the biggest inspiration of all at this point.
After you finish reading this post, make sure you also read: How to Set up a Blog on WordPress.
It only takes two things to make money from a blog: a fair amount of VISITORS and having SOMETHING TO SELL.
You could be selling anything, from ad space to advertising programs like AdSense as well as your own products. But you need to create content that will get popular on search engines and social media first.
The amount of money you make from a blog depends on the number of visitors and what you are selling. The number of visitors depends on the popularity of blog content. The success of the advertisements and the products that you sell also depends on the same content because they will most likely of the same type.
So you always have to bear in mind to create content that matches online interests or online advertisers.
For example, affiliate networks are a hugely popular way of making money from a blog. In short in affiliate marketing you promote someone else's product on your blog and get paid a great commission every time a product sells.
This method of monetising a blog will only work if the blog content that matches the product you are trying to sell. If you cannot find an affiliate product for your blog you will have to use other options like serving ads through AdSense or selling your own product.
When it comes to ad networks, certain categories of content tends to do better than the others. Some topics draw high spending advertisers. Also, certain people click more on matching ads because they are in the “looking for more” mental framework.
Let's talk about selling your own products and services on your blog.
The simplest example of this is selling an e-book or an e-course. But then to you have to figure out if there is a demand for your product. You have to figure out a niche that is profitable. This is not too difficult to do. Some Internet research using search engines and exploring the keenly searched keywords will give you an idea of what people are looking for. Study the products that are selling and you will get an idea of whats successful and what the competition looks like.
Create a Content Bank and Post Regularly
One of the biggest challenges of writing a blog will be creating useful and engaging content and creating enough of it. Just a couple of posts are probably not going to cut it. Search engines look for depth in a blog to determine their ranking. This includes the age of the blog along with the amount of material present.
It is common for a half a dozen posts to rank exceptionally well with the search engines. But they will probably not rank so well if they are the only ones on the blog. Also, blogs that get updated regularly tend to do much better with organic search engine and social media traffic.
So creating a blog and making money from it is not about taking a month or everything into it and then just sitting back. You have to keep it fresh by adding new content and interaction. There is no hard and fast rule about how often you should post on your blog. It certainly doesn't have to be every day. I know of bloggers who do it once a week, once in a fortnight and even once a month. But when they do post, they add something of value.
The 5 Best Ways To Monetise A Blog
These are the top methods of making money from a blog. The first 2 methods are our favourite and a great mix for anyone looking to make a great income with their blog and website.
1) Using Contextual Ads
There are many companies, networks and programs you can use to make money from your blog. And we will talk about them next. But the success of all and any of these monetisation methods depends on one thing, that is, the quality of your blog content. It doesn't matter if it's the written word, pictures or videos. As long as you deliver good quality content, it has a lot more chances of becoming popular and driving traffic to your blog.
No matter what kind of monetisation method you use, the revenue generated is directly proportional to the number of visitors you get on your blog.
This cardinal rule is true for everyone online, from the major players to personal blogs. Quality content draws search engine searches and gets shared more on social media.
There are many ways to create quality content for your blog. Big interesting topics, create original stuff. Include rich media like pictures and videos whenever you can. You don't really have to go out of your way to find interesting topics to write about. The best thing is to find a topic of your interest. This goes a long way and inspiring you to sustain your writing and creating content without getting tired or bored after entire process.
AdSense. The most popular advertising program by Google. It is easy to implement and delivers the best revenue for most blogs as compared to other ad networks.
AdSense kind of advertising networks are also known as CPC networks. CPC stands for cost per click. It means that you earn every time someone clicks on one of the advertisements on your blog.
AdSense is easy to implement. There are simple ways to add a small code snippet to your blog. The relevant ads will appear on their own, controlled by Google's algorithm.
Google mainly shows two types of ads on a blog, contextual and interest based.
Contextual advertisements deem to match the subject of the content. For example, an article on gardening will show advertisements related to the subject of gardening. Since contextual ads match the interest of the browser, they are more likely to click on the advertisement. That's what makes contextual advertising profitable and an appealing prospect for any blogger.
Interest based ads are shown on the basis of what a person has been looking for before coming to your blog. Whenever someone visits a website, that website usually leaves a trace of that visit on the user's computer or mobile device in the form of cookies. Also many ad networks have cookies of their own that track the movement of the user. These are harmless cookies and the data collected is anonymous. No personally identifiable information is recorded. You can also opt out of these cookies if you wish.
The end result is that an ad network like google knows where you've been before and can serve you ads matching that browsing history.
For example if you are interested in buying a new car, and have been looking up, let's say, Chevrolet, the next website you visit can show you Chevrolet advertising even if the website topic and content you are looking at has nothing to do with cars. These ads are based on your previous browsing interests and hence known as interested based advertisements.
If the visitor was looking at certain items on Amazon, AdSense will show advertisements from Amazon. This is one of the greatest advantages of running advertisements with AdSense. Since google is the most popular search engine, it has a robust inventory of advertisers. It can serve ads from a wide variety of genres of product, service and industry.
There are other contextual ad networks as well and one of the ones that we recommend is Media.net. They also have a large inventory of advertisers which includes advertisements from the Microsoft and Bing search engine.
In fact, for certain blogs this program will prove to be more profitable than Adsense. Many bloggers try a combination of both the networks and decide based on the results. There are other networks like Chitika, but they are not purely contextual. They also demand large volume of traffic to be profitable. Any ad network that you want to join will have certain requirements for your blog. These requirements differ from one network to another but usually include things like age of the blog and the amount of organic traffic you get on your blog.
Traffic requirement is a very common the requisite and some networks will not accept your application below a certain limit. Another common requirement is that your graphical location for your traffic. This is usually because The network as most of its advertisement inventory from advertisers in a particular location. This is the reason why most new blogs will have problems qualifying with several ad networks. And that's precisely why we recommend concentrating on creating great content first and promoting it. However, there are other methods of monetising your blog besides contextual advertising which do not have such limitations.
2) Affiliate and Referral Income.
We highly recommend this. One of the most profitable ways of making money through a blog is with affiliate and a referral programs. It can lead to a much more sizeable income as compared to other revenue generation programs.
There are many affiliate networks you can join for free such as Clickbank, ShareSale, Commission Junction etc. They also have far less requirements from your website as compared to the ad networks mentioned above. You can virtually join and promote any product as you will.
These sites have many products and services that you can promote on your blog. When an interested visitor clicks and buys from your link you get paid up to as much as 90% of the selling price which can be hundreds of dollars for a single point of purchase.
A very popular kind of product to promote are e-courses, e-books and all kinds of digital products. You can make lots of money promoting these products because you get paid as much as 90% of the total selling price. Examples are: health and fitness programs, self-help guides, do-it-yourself courses etc. The success of your affiliate income depends a lot on the content of your blog and how well matched it is to the interests of your visitors. The more targeted your visitors are, the more responsive they will be to the products you promote.
3) Using content networks.
This is a very popular monetisation technique for blogs today. It is believed that more than 70% of all blogs, including the major websites, use content networks to monetise or promote their content. These kind of networks are good for all kinds of blogs, and especially those that are news and information based, and do not have a direct and related product or service to advertise and sell.
Instead of showing ads for products and services, various sponsored posts from other blogs are displayed. You have a certain amount of control over the kind of content that is displayed. For example you can control the Parental Ratings. Many bloggers have discovered that the click through rate and the revenue from these kind of ads matches that of contextual networks and in many cases, is more.
The content network ads are an effective option when the content of the blog is generic, news based where the contextual adverts like AdSense might have problem displaying related ads. These ads tend to perform pretty well because they show interesting and attention grabbing posts from other blogs which encourage the visitor to click through to those articles. Every time that a visitor does that, you get paid.
4) Sell Your Own Product
This method of monetisation is recommended for various reasons. As long as you are using other programs you are dependent on the continuance of those services for your income. However, things can change. A certain service you are promoting might go out of business. You should at some point start working on creating something of your own to sell. The most popular products to sell e-book's, E courses and guides. They are digital product so the price that you sell them for is almost all pure profit. You can sell them directly on your website using a host of ancillary services like PayPal and Clickbank among a host of others.
5) Sell Space
If your blog becomes popular you can start selling ad space on it. Create a page inviting people to advertise with you and set your own rates. There are also websites like buysellads.com that help you sell ad space on your website. This is usually an option reserved for blogs that see a very generic viewership and cannot monetise effectively with any of the above mentioned methods. You also need to have a sizeable viewership to make money through this.
This concludes the top five ways of making money from a blog or website. Do share your comments below specially if you have more ideas about how to go about monetising a blog. Your questions and queries are also welcome as always.
So let me try and summarise this post for you. How to start and make money from a blog?
- Find a topic that interests you/you will have knowledge about.
- Create interesting, meaningful and useful content that visitors will get value from and even want to share on their social media accounts.
- Keep in mind that you need to monetise the content of your blog. Look for suitable products and services to sell on your blog from the very beginning.
- Be prepared to post on a regular schedule.
- Set up a timetable that allows you to do all the essential blogging activities such as writing, creating a social media presence and researching new and fresh content.
- Follow the the methods listed for monetising a blog and choose one or two to begin with.
- If you are convinced that blogging is for you and you are serious about making it a source of income then go ahead and read these to other posts as well:
How to Set up a Blog on WordPress.