Make money by blogging – everyone’s doing it, right? At the very least, it seems like everyone has a side project, earning a little extra money by monetizing their musings or advice. But what many would-be bloggers wonder, and rightly, is whether or not blogging can provide a consistent income. For outsiders, it can seem like a tenuous financial plan.
It is possible to earn a steady income by blogging, but that doesn’t mean that just any blog can go from launch to huge success in a matter of days. You’ll need time and connections to earn a steady income from a personal website.
Are you ready to make the commitment to blogging? Start with these four steps and you’ll be on the road to success.
Put Your Name Out There
One of the most important things you’ll need to do as a blogger is develop a known persona, and the best way to do this is by writing guest blogs for sites with a large readership. Spend some time getting familiar with blogs in your field and when you feel comfortable with the content and style and feel you have something to add to the conversation, pitch a guest post.
Know that you’ll likely need to send out quite a few pitches in order to get even a handful of acceptances, but don’t be discouraged. The more posts you get out there, the more blogs will be interested in your guest appearances, so return to some of the rejections when you’ve built up your portfolio of clips.
Get a Sense of Scale
There are several different types of blogs, but the most important differentiation you can make is between a single-writer blog that runs on individual labor and a large collaborative blog that functions like a business. Almost all blogs start as the former, but truly successful blogs often morph to require numerous writers, if that’s what you’re aiming for. When that happens, though, you’ll need to be prepared to shift priorities.
When a blog turns into an entire business, the founder is often pushed to focus on coordinating staffing and payroll and acting as a manager rather than a writer. This doesn’t have to be the case if you want to continue writing, but know that someone will have to handle these issues, whether you choose to outsource them or hire an internal manager.
This may sound like a repetition of the first key step – linking up with others in your niche so they’ll publish your guest blogs – but there’s another type of relationship that’s vital to blogging: your relationship with your reader. New bloggers, in particular, need to spend time responding to comments and interacting with their audience. It shows investment in the community and will encourage readers to come back.
Once you have a serious flow of visitors, your personal engagement may become optional because readers will be having rich conversations amongst themselves, but at the beginning, you’ll be the main interlocutor. That being said, if you can’t stand the thought of hanging around the comments section of your own blog, this may not be the job for you.
Skip the Ads
Finally, if you’re going to be a serious blogger, don’t base your business strategy on ad income. Ads don’t pay well and the type that show up on low budget blogs tend to be annoying and distracting, taking away from the reader experience. You aren’t going to make enough from them to make them worthwhile, so opt to go ad-free and focus on producing content that advertises itself.
The best thing you can do for your blog is to study what goes viral and imitate it with your own twist. Much like writing a best-selling mystery or romance, there is a formula at the heart of blogging and you’ll find it if you look hard enough.
Blogging can be a rich and satisfying job, but it takes a while to turn your personal page into a moneymaking machine. Before you jump into the great pool of bloggers, then, spend a lot of time familiarizing yourself with your niche and seeking a unique perspective on that corner of the world. Take your passion and fix a path forward – only then should you jump.