How To Earn A Living Through Blogging
Around twenty to thirty years ago, the concept of blogging was not yet known. It all started with the concept of an online diary, or a journal “written” and published on the worldwide web, containing accounts of a person’s personal life, as well as his thoughts and opinions about anything and everything under the sun. Even the name underwent many changes, from onlinediary to e-journal to weblog, until it became shortened to blog, which is the term most popularly known and used today.
Over time, the term “blog” was officially accepted, and became both a noun and a verb. It refers to the online diary itself where content is uploaded. It also refers to the act of making posts or creating content for these blogs. Not surprisingly, the people who are seriously managing these blogs became known as bloggers.
In this article, we share 1) the purpose of blogs and blogging, 2) what blogging as a professional entails, and 3) how to earn a living through blogging.
THE PURPOSE OF BLOGS AND BLOGGING
Even the purpose of blogging, or the reasons why blogs exist, has undergone an evolution. Originally, blogging was a way for people to express their ideas, thoughts, and opinions. That is no longer the case.
- Blogs serve as journals. It is where people kept running accounts of their lives, providing information on their activities and endeavors, along with their thoughts and opinions. This was one of the original reasons why blogs came about.
- Blogs are outlets for one’s creativity. Artistic skills and creative talents are always looking for ways to be shared, and blogs are an excellent medium for them. Photography enthusiasts, graphic designers, and artists in various crafts set up their blogs in order for them to be able to share their craft with the world.
- Blogging can be a hobby in itself. There are simply people who love creating posts for the sheer fun and enjoyment of it. It is their way of de-stressing.
- Blogs are used to connect, and stay connected. A good alternative to constantly getting on the phone and calling all your friends and family who are far away from you can be time-consuming and tedious. The whole process of updating them and keeping in touch with them can be simplified with the use of a blog. They will remain informed by bloggers updating their blogs with the latest news and milestones in their lives.
- Blogs are platforms for sharing knowledge and information. Many of the first blogs were for sharing news and valuable information on current events. They are also useful for those who are pushing a specific cause of advocacy, as blogs are now seen to have a very wide reach. This is why many of the most successful bloggers have also been regarded as “influencers”.
- Blogs can be avenues for helping people. Whether you simply want to inspire others by sharing your positive experiences and thoughts, or you want to take active measures by leading activities and creating communities through your blog, you can use your blog to help others. You may also do this by publishing content on your blog that provide helpful advice, tips and tricks.
- Blogs can turn bloggers into celebrities. By maintaining a blog, you can build a reputation for yourself, say, as an expert in a certain field. Travel bloggers, photography bloggers and fashion bloggers are some of the more popular ones in the blogosphere today, and that is mainly down to how they maintain their blogs and their content.
- Blogs are a way to make money. These days, this is one of the primary reasons why more and more people are starting to blog. They want to make money out of it and, maybe, just maybe, make their living out of blogging.
When blogging got its start, the idea of it being a source of income and livelihood may have been farfetched. But we can see today that it is actually happening, and you can start earning through blogging, too!
BLOGGING AS A PROFESSION
Meet the “professional blogger”. He is someone who is making money as a blogger, and has made blogging as a career.
Here’s a reality check: not everyone can become a professional blogger. And even when they do, it takes quite a long time before they fully become one. But do not be discouraged, because with patience, determination and utilization of many of the tools made available to aspiring professional bloggers, you can get around to making money out of your blog.
When you read through the many success stories of bloggers-turned-online-entrepreneurs, you will find that most of them started blogging on a part-time basis. Either they are already working for another company on a 9-to-5 job, or are in the middle of a thriving career. In short, they are already earning an income and they just started blogging on the side.
After a while (within which they were able to bring their blogs forward), they finally made that decision to transition from part-time to full-time blogging, giving up the security of their jobs and corporate desks.
Professions come with a specific set of skills and knowledge, and that is no different when it comes to blogging. Some of the skills that a professional must have in order to become a professional blogger include:
- Writing and other content-creation skills, which include, but are not limited to creation of media, writing and editing, photography or photo editing.
- Social media marketing, considering how social media is powering up much of the action in the blogosphere today.
- Email marketing.
- Management and organization skills.
- Search engine optimization know-how.
When you do not have these skills but you want to start a blog, do not worry. Most of the self-sustaining bloggers today started with very little of these skills, only able to improve and hone their skills over time and lots and lots of educating and re-educating themselves.
Now the next question you have to answer is this: when should you make that transition from a simple blogger to a professional blogger? Others quit their day jobs the moment they start their blog. This is a bit risky, especially when you have no other steady sources of income to speak of. You are basically putting everything into your blog, which is still in its early stages, and you are not quite sure yet if it will be able to provide the income that you expect.
The best time to start focusing all your time and effort on your professional blog is when it is already earning a fixed recurring income. Maybe it’s not much, but at least there is a steady stream coming in. You can then focus on growing that income once you start blogging full-time.
Famous bloggers that earn real money
Here are some of the famous bloggers who earn their money through blogging and some of them even provide their income reports.
- John Lee Dumas from EOFire.com
- Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com
- Holly Johnson from ClubThrifty.com
- Brian Clark from Copyblogger.com
- Michelle Schroeder-Gardner from MakingSenseOfCents.com
- Lindsay and Bjork Ostrom from PinchOfYum.com
- Abby Lawson from JustaGirlAndHerBlog.com
- Jon Hover from AuthorityWebsiteIncome.com
- Matthew Woodward from MatthewWoodward.co.uk
- Sydney from Untemplater.com
HOW TO EARN REVENUES THROUGH BLOGGING
This is a question that leaves many bloggers stumped, especially when they watch the pennies that they are earning from their blog. Why is it that they are not making as much as they expected, while other bloggers are raking in thousands of dollars in a month, enough for them to quit their jobs and make blogging a full-time one?
Let us look at the ways for you to earn money through your blog.
1. Start small with ads.
This is the most “logical” way for blogs (and websites, in general) to earn money. By placing ads on your blog, you will be getting the attention of more advertisers if you successfully increase your blog’s traffic.
It is recommended that you start putting ads from the beginning. This is so your readers will not find it jarring when you start putting up ads where there was none originally. It is a way to make them get used to it, so that even when you start putting in more, they will not mind that much, if at all.
Of course, it goes without saying that you have to work doubly, triply hard in order to get your blog noticed by more people and increase traffic to your site. The more visitors you get, the higher your chances of ranking high in search engines will be. This will also make you more noticeable to advertisers.
2. Utilize various monetization schemes.
Bloggers can monetize in several ways. Here are some potential revenue streams for your blog.
- Running advertisements through paid ad programs. One good example is Google AdSense, where your blog content will be matched with specific ads, and you will be paid depending on the number of visitors who view and click on the ads.
- Affiliate programs. Referrals are a way for blogs to earn money. For example, companies will pay blogs that are able to refer customers to them. This is a practice done by Amazon.com. For example, if your blog refers customers to Amazon.com and they make a purchase, you will receive part of the profits made from the sale.
- Blog-related merchandise, products and services. These days, you will find blogs that come up with their own merchandise. Graphic designers, for example, create themes and sell them. Some bloggers even design shirts and other apparel related to their blog. There are even those who are able to write e-books and sell them through their blogs.
Some financial bloggers also charge users who avail of their services online. They set up online courses where readers can sign up and pay for the opportunity to join the classes that the bloggers conduct.
3. Build partnerships and communities.
Collaborations, when done right, can be very productive. Team up with other sites or blogs and strike up a partnership with them. It could start with something simple as mentioning their name or link, or sharing their content on your site. After a while, this will help your blog build its reputation, get more page views, and make it rank higher. Blogs are also capable of online groups, mostly started via a forum where readers can join and share their thoughts.
4. Engage in offline money-making ventures that relate to your blog.
Take, for example, a financial blogger, or one who gives finance tips and advice through his blog. He can make extra cash offline by conducting seminars or speaking engagements on matters related to finance. Bloggers are paid by companies and organizations when they appear as speakers or resource persons, talking about their fields of expertise, which they also focus on in their blogs.
Similarly, bloggers may also extend their blogging services for a fee. There are many companies that pay bloggers who contribute content to their website and even allow the bloggers to advertise their own blogs. This is killing two birds with one stone, since you get paid for content you create for the site, and you are able to reach more people when your blog is advertised on the site.
5. Obtaining sponsorships.
Lifehacker, one of the most successful blogs today, initially started raking in the income through advertising. This financial success from advertising managed to get the attention of major companies, and it was able to obtain an advertising sponsorship with electronics giant Sony.
The points discussed above demonstrate that blogging has multiple revenue streams. It is up to you, the blogger, to recognize them and utilize them in such a way that will make the revenues come in.
MORE TIPS ON HOW YOU CAN MAKE A LIVING THROUGH BLOGGING
Content is important. A blog is a blog if it has content, and it must be very good content. Content is what brings in the traffic, and if you want to start earning money through your blog, then you should focus on bringing in traffic first. By ensuring that your blog has quality content, you will have higher chances of getting noticed by readers.
Know your market. Blogging is now very competitive, and bloggers are struggling to establish themselves as experts in the field they are blogging about. A good way to do this is being clear on your niche. When creating content, make sure that you are clear on the niche for your blog so you can target them properly. Try to narrow your niche as much as you can, so you will have an easier time becoming an expert. For example, if you’re a photography blogger, you can become unique by focusing mostly on nature or landscape photography.
Quality content also takes a lot of hard work, because it often involves significant amounts of research, writing, editing, rewriting, and more editing. You should also be consistent in putting up content on your blog. If making daily posts is too much, you can do it every two or three days. Just make sure your blog does not stay quiet for too long.
Look beyond content. We have already agreed that, in order to maintain a blog that readers will keep coming back to, you have to offer good content. However, excellent content alone will not make you a professional blogger. You will find a lot of very good blogs on the internet that have good content, but the blogger is earning not nearly enough money.
Make connections, and keep them. The internet thrives on the connections made by its users, and bloggers are part of this massive network. More than building communities on your own, you should make sure you make connections with other bloggers, particularly those who are in the same, or in related, fields. These days, you will see various bloggers working together on certain projects. That is a sign of them having sustained very good connections.
Continue learning. Hone your skills. If there are opportunities for you to learn more about blogging, or about matters related to the topic you are blogging about, grab them. There are many sources of these learning and instructional materials both online and offline. Blogging conventions or meetings and conferences among bloggers about blogging are also very helpful.
Stay committed and passionate. Remember how you started your blog with such fiery determination to make it a success? Never lose that fire and that passion in you. Success as a blogger will not come easily or quickly, so you have to stay the course. It is easy to feel discouraged when time goes by and it would seem that nothing good is going to happen anytime soon. Persistence pays off, so make sure you stay committed to what you started.
Be patient. If you are expecting the cash to be rolling in within your first two months of blogging, then you will be disappointed. This may have happened to some bloggers, but it happens to only a handful out of thousands of new bloggers. For many of the successful bloggers today, it took years before they can say that they are comfortably earning their living off their blogs. They mostly spent the first two or three years building their blog’s reputation and working hard to attract visitors. When they started earning, it was in trickles and in very small amounts.
It will take you quite a while before you can start earning money through your blog, so you have to be patient and, at the same time, work hard on maintaining your blog.
You can compare blogging to starting your own business. It takes a lot of work and resources just to get started, and it will take even more work and resource to make it grow. Just like starting and running your own business, it also comes with risks. Businesses can earn profits, or they can incur losses. It is the same thing with blogging; you could either earn money from it, or you will only end up using too much effort but not getting a single cent in return.