As most bloggers know, statement to the effect that one “blogs for a living” inevitably draws blank stares and confused looks among most of the uninitiated in the blogging craft. That which these laymen rightfully perceive is that anyone can become a blogger, but not all bloggers can become what you would call a blogging professional, meaning not all can make money with a blog.
And one of the first hallmarks of qualifying for the professional category is the fact that you can turn blogging into a source of living, pocket money or additional income. This is made possible by means of blog monetization, as a catch-all description for making bucks off your web property. It is not just having a blog that makes monetization possible - there is an actual business model that needs to be employed. So, make sure to spare a couple of minutes and learn how to make money blogging like a bona fide professional.
Practice What You Preach: Affiliate Marketing
So, you say you have your blog, audience and guts to make the first steps in turning your blog into a professional money making machine that hardly ever sleeps. First, you can consider oiling its cogs by engaging in affiliate marketing programs, which grant you percentage out of what your business partners manage to sell by having their products advertised on your site.
Take, for example, what blogger Pat Flynn does, which allows him to earn more than $30,000 per month just by working with the Bluehost company affiliate program. He simply advertises Bluehost as a reliable hosting company whose services he himself uses. In exchange, they provide him with promotional links and banners which he puts on his blog. Whenever a visitor interacts with a banner and purchases a Bluehost service package, he receives a percentage out of the closed deal.
An important advantage of affiliate marketing is that you can control the quality of products you promote, as well as deal only with those that are in line with your niche. True blogging professionals will do well to check their quality of products advertised first in order to avoid discrediting themselves. In addition to obvious choices such as these big name affiliate programs, you can always hook up with individuals, businesses and other bloggers whose products you deem relevant to your niche and audience.
Balancing Profits and Content with Ad Networks
In case you consider your current marketing & content capacity not quite up to the challenge of engaging in affiliate marketing, you can opt for an ever popular method of making money with a blog: Displaying ads. This entails working with ad networks such as Google AdSense or its numerous alternatives. In any case, your revenue will depend on your ad performance based on various models, such as number of impressions (you are paid for a set number of page views), clicks (user clicking on an ad) and actions (user clicks and executes a specific action).
The earning potential of this model depends on the level of traffic and users’ willingness to interact with said ads, together with your ability to find a niche with less pronounced competition. Obviously, you’ll want to use a website traffic checker to make sure where you stand. Also, striking a balance between the volume of ads and presentation of your own content is a must, as favoring either of the two options could mean generating less revenue or having visitors leave your site.
Going Independent with Your Ads
You can enjoy a greater deal of flexibility if you decide that ads or deals offered by ad networks do not meet your original marketing goals. Going directly to advertisers means that you can ensure higher level of predictability when it comes to displayed banners on your site. In any case, you acquire them by applying cold calling strategy with advertisers, or you can wait for them to get in touch with you. The first approach is preferable, as every day of inactivity for your marketing efforts means you are losing money in the long run.
Earning with Flair with Sponsored Content
Unlike in the previously described cases, in which your content plays only a tangential role in relation with ads, creating sponsored or native advertising content entails its seamless fusion with your general marketing and content generation strategy. Sponsored content consists of articles that are paid for promotion of a company, service or a product. They can be more or less direct, with either oblique or transparent references to the sponsors.
In all cases, the success of this type of campaign will depend on your skill with aligning your regular content with that which is being paid for. This is best done by placing a reference to the advertised product in an unobtrusive and measured manner, just as Honestly Yum gastronomy blog did with its references to a brand name chocolate in a post dealing with coffee. Bloggers aspiring to become earning professionals will need to find measure in balancing sponsored and original content without antagonizing their existing audience in the process.
Offering Homemade Digital Products
Making money off your blog does not have to rely on promoting or writing about other people’s products – you can create your own as well. In addition to branding your own web asset, this path is also a more profitable option, as you get to keep all revenue for yourself. The trade-off comes in form of your need to invest much more in order to offer a quality product to your audience.
Having in mind that production of your own physical products can be a tall order for numerous bloggers, you are left with digital products that can be easily monetized as well. They come in form of e-books or video tutorial/guides, which you can present as premium content. Provided that you can substantiate your claims of being an expert in a certain niche by the content you produce, you’ll have an easy time convincing your readership to pay for gold nuggets of knowledge that you offer them behind the safe confines of a paywall.
Turning Blog into a Professional Service Platform
Being an expert in a particular field can go beyond securing earnings via digital products offered on blogs. If you consider your expertise and gathered experience to be at least above average, you may consider sharing it with others in form of offering freelance or consultancy services.
The main difference between this model and previously explained digital product approach lies in the fact that you can focus your effort on a single client instead of on a group of them. This means that the revenue you earn will depend on a smaller number of people that actually use your services.
Here, your limits are set only by what you can demonstrate as your forte, provided that there is a market demand for it. The braver among the bloggers may even try their hand at becoming a professional coach. While being a more expensive and demanding strategy for making money off your blog, these approaches can get you high profile clients that can help you not just with funding your blog, but with your professional career as well.
Whichever path you take, you start with awareness that statements of “I blog” and “I blog for a living” are separated by a huge chasm that is bridged only by hours of long and devoted work and clearly set goals. Luckily, making money with your blog today is a matter of picking the best business model for you, depending on your ambition, strategy and available resources. As none of the described methods act as a skeleton key that opens every door of success, careful thought, flexibility and an empiric approach to them are your best allies on this path.