One question I get asked a lot is, “How do you make money blogging?” It’s a good question because blogs offer their content for free, so how do you make money on free? Here is the stripped down basics to making money with a blog:
1) Choose a blog topic that you enjoy and can write lots and lots about.
Bloggers should post at least 3 articles a week, every week for as long as you want to make money blogging. While can you re-publish or re-purpose old posts, when you run the numbers (3 articles a week X 52 weeks = 156 articles a year), you can see that you’ll need a lot of content. Consider choosing a sub-topic or niche, as they tend to do better than general blogs. For example, instead of blogging about gardening, blog about organic gardening.
2) Choose a blog topic other people want to know about.
Enjoying the topic (#1) is important, but so is having a topic other people want to read about. You only make money blogging if you have readers. You can only get readers if you provide information or entertainment they want. You can use a service like SEO Book Keyword Tool to find out how many searches (and therefore how many want information) there have been on the keywords related to your topic.
3) Build your blog.
The most successful bloggers host their own blogs instead of using a free service like Blogger or WordPress.com. In fact, most successful bloggers I know use WordPress.org (different from the .com version). You’ll need a domain name and web hosting, but any host with cPanel has a free click-n-install WordPress option. Here’s WAHS’s free step-by-step information on setting up a WordPress blog.
4) Focus on content and engagement first.
Money is made by having readers. To get readers you need content they want to read. And you keep them coming back by engaging them through an email list and social networking. So as you build your blog (#3) focus on quality content, building an email list, and social networking where your markets connects.
5) Market your blog.
Again, it’s having readers that generates the income, so you need to let people know about your blog. The best way to do that is to define who your market is (i.e. people who want to garden organically), figure out where they hang out online (other blogs they read, social networks they use, etc) and get your message to them. That doesn’t mean you have bombard everyone with “come see my blog.” In social networks you can share a recent post or answer someone’s question. You can re-purpose an article and add a blurb about your blog at the end, then give it to other blogs or websites to post. By publishing your article on their sites, you can additional exposure and hopefully visitors.
6) Monetize when you have readers.
You can monetize earlier, but you won’t make money without readers. The fastest way to monetize is through Google’s Adsense program, which is free and has easy requirements for joining. Be sure to read the rules, because if you break them, Google will boot you out of the program and never let you back in. Other ways to make money from your blog are to promote other business’ products or services through affiliate programs. For example, Amazon probably has organic gardening books and tools you can promote on your blog. If you have a lot of traffic, you can sell ad space on your blog.
There are many affiliate and ad networks you can use to put ads on your site. I like iGain and Media.net. You can also sell your own ad space. Beyond advertising, you can create your own products or a service to sell. But in the end, how you monetize your blog doesn’t matter if no one is coming to read it. To do that, it takes planning, work and time. Any guru that tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something. There is no automatic traffic or income from blogging. To be successful you need to provide good content and have readers. As long as you focus on developing those two, you’ll have a good chance of success.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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