How to Earn as a Blogger: Some Tools to Try
What is blogging and why is it popular? Or what is a blog and how does it work?
A blog is simply a web log which is defined as a chronological arrangement of interactive posts, composed in the style of an online journal or diary.
There are different types of blogs in cyberspace, including professional, media, reverse, business, affiliate and niche blogs. One of the key advantages of blogging for profit is that though it requires a measure of personal commitment at the onset, it is possible to continue earning after this initial phase by simply managing the blog and adding new posts on a regular basis. You can learn how to profit by following this simple blogging for beginners guide.
So let's get started!
1. Focus on Your Gift
What can you write about in a blog? Well, the subject matter should be centered on what you enjoy and are passionate about. It takes time to build this into a lucrative business, so developing the blog and adding fresh content is difficult, if the theme is not something you are closely related to and are genuinely interested in. Begin by asking yourself what it is you are really passionate about and what you are gifted in. Then build your blog around that passion or hobby be it selling, baking, rearing pets, music, art, camping or other outdoor activity. Centering your blog on your favorite activity will enthuse it with the life and energy it requires to be authentic and relevant. Moreover, the insights and perspectives you communicate from your own personal experience serve to establish you as an expert in the field. They also add value by presenting facts outside the knowledge of the ordinary person.
Don’t try to cram several unrelated topics into the blog as this will lower its ranking among search engines. Instead, become a niche blogger and focus on a single theme and how to develop it profitably. It does not mean that you have to shoulder the burden on your own though. There is a lot of talent out there waiting to be tapped into - from web developers, graphic designers to writers, researchers and editors. You could first test the waters by assessing reviews and feedback from other customers and submitting your own short assignments, before engaging someone to assist long-term in building your blog. Fiverr.com is a cheap and well-organized platform for you to outsource some of the responsibilities.
2. Enhance Your Site
The question is asked, ‘which site should I use for a blog?’ Well, if you are a beginner or would prefer to go for a low-cost startup, you could go for blogging platforms like WordPress, Wix or Blogger, where you can create a unique and beautiful blog for free. These are very interactive and can be customized in several ways using various themes and features, to make your blog strikingly impressive. Since you incur no expenses, you can use these platforms to build your site, practice and grow your business till it earns enough for you to procure your own unique domain. However, whether you continue with a free service or move on to paid web-hosting service, ensure you thoroughly read and understand the terms and conditions of your site host as well as any legal disclaimers. You are establishing a brand, so give your site a name that is easy for folks to remember.
Also, structure the blog in such a way that it will be easy for any user to navigate through and locate any content or topic they may be looking for. Remember beyond textual information, you need to enhance the content with clear, attractive photos and either upload or embed relevant videos, in order to make the posts as appealing as possible. Recommend also, that your visitors add the site to their list of favorites on their browser to encourage ease of access.
3. Spread the Word
The following are a few easy-to-use tools that will help create awareness on your blog and it's contents:
Ping: was a feature developed by David Winer and it uses XML to alert other sites whenever new content is posted in a blog. Your blog may already be doing this automatically with Google, but it may also be excluding other search engines and blog directories. For this to work, simply submit your blog’s URL to free ping services like Ping-O-Matic which automatically update several search engines. However, stick to only pinging when you have new content on your blog to avoid being blacklisted as a spam-pinger.
RSS Feed: You can use the RSS or Really Simple Syndication feed which is set up in your blog. This is basically your content in a different format called XML. Since each time you create a new post, your RSS feed is updated, it is possible for users to connect to this feed from your blog. if you have a Google account, you can install Feedburner in your account in order to monitor statistics on subscribers and traffic activity. For details on how to set it up, where to post the link to the feed, or promote it through social media and several other methods, check out blogger Kristi Hines' excellent article.
Trackback: This is another useful feature you can use to improve your blog’s earning capacity. Each time you create a new post, a unique trackback URL is assigned to it. So instead of just inserting a short comment on someone else’s blog, you can post your response in your own blog, paste their trackback URL in the interface and then hit ‘Submit’. Then your post or article will appear on your blog and at the same time a section of it will also be displayed in the comment section of the other person’s blog. The trackback will link the comment directly back to your post, such that visitors will be able to find their way to your blog. More details on how trackback works and how you can use it to increase traffic flow to your blog are expounded by a blogger named Yaro Starak who made over a million dollars through his blog-based business model. You can find this on his site Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.
4. Promote the Blog
No matter how well organized the blog is, it will not be profitable without traffic coming in constantly. So avoid spending too much time posting new content and improving the blog, while neglecting the marketing aspect. Divide your time and efforts such that you invest sufficiently in both developing and promoting. As stated previously, get involved on other blogs where you contribute your comments in order to create exposure to your blog and if they accept it, use the opportunity to include links in the comment section. Also, submit your blog to directories and search engines so that you receive as many views as possible. Try to use every avenue available to create online awareness in order to begin incurring revenue.
It is possible to have recurring income through blogging, but it has to be shifted from being a part-time hobby into a real business. So build relationships with other bloggers who have high ranking pages and whose content is similar to yours, so that you can exchange links. Leverage the power of multiplication by involving those who know you, be it family, relatives, friends, or workmates to distribute your link wherever they can through their social media networks and elsewhere in cyberspace. You could also create free informational products like reports, eBooks, and online newsletters that link back to your blog to attract more traffic. Use social bookmarking sites like OnlyWire to submit your content to social media platforms, creating opportunity for awareness and exposing you to a much wider audience. Currently, OnlyWire is connected to 40 major social media platforms.
5. AdSense Program
This is a very simple method by which advertisements are placed on the blog by Google, with the agreement that the blogger is paid each time a user clicks on an ad. So the more impressions you receive from visitors to your blog, the more you earn. All that is required to enroll in the AdSense program is for the blogger to register themselves, the blog’s web address and other basic details. After approval by Google, the blogger receives a HTML code to paste onto the blog for the ads to start displaying. Google will have already checked the blog to identify the advertisements most relevant to the content, before targeting the blog readers. To a certain degree, the blog owner has a say on the type of advertisements they would want displayed on the site - for example, the option not to have any illicit ads. Aside from Google AdSense, check out these other 17 high paying alternatives.
6. Sell Advertising Space
This is a different route, where the blogger sources external advertisers who would be willing to run their ads on his or her blog in order for it to generate revenue. It works the same way a magazine or newspaper sells advertising space to a business for promotional purposes. Admittedly, one of the challenges with this approach is that the blog content must be directly relevant to the type of product or service the advertiser wishes to promote, and tailored to suit the interests of the target audience. Moreover, the total visitor impressions the blog registers per given period, determine if the advertiser will be willing to do business with the blogger. Hence, if the blog is relatively new and has not yet started to generate a substantial amount of traffic, the advertiser is likely to move on to other advertising channels.
Bloggers can earn from this method through payments made for advertising spaces over a pre-arranged period, or for a fixed number of page views by visitors. Alternatively, the advertiser may opt to pay the blogger either based on the number of impressions made on each advertisement or whenever a product is bought through the advertisement. There are also business owners willing to compensate bloggers financially for including their links in blog posts.
7. Become an Affiliate
In principle, an affiliate helps sell other people's products or services in exchange for a commission. This is how it works. You register with the company or business offering the affiliate program and they provide you with a unique identification number. Based on this, each purchase a blog visitor makes is traced back to you and you are compensated according to the agreement you have made on paid commissions. It is a form of blog digital marketing. The profitability level depends on the product or service and the quantities sold through your blog. For more details on how you can be successful as an affiliate marketer, check out my other article on How to Earn from Affiliate Marketing.
Another way is to be directly hired by a company as their blogger. This can be either contracted, part-time or full-time employment. Either way, it would be best to create a few outstanding blogs with excellent posts to showcase your work before searching for such opportunities. You could also open an account with PayPerPost, which is a platform where marketers submit assignments for the creation of content, referred to as Opportunities, and bloggers are paid for completing those assignments. It is also possible to sign up for Sponsored Reviews where bloggers are paid by advertisers to create posts on specific topics.
8. Reviews and Reselling
There are many companies looking for people to review their products or services and promote them on blogs. The aspiring blogger can sign up for any of these and start posting reviews. Here again, the determining factor when it comes to a business deal is how long the blog has been active and how many visitors it receives per given period of time. If you already have your own products or services available, you could use blogging as your choice way of marketing, be it for homemade cookies, paintings, or for informational resources like eBooks and eCourses (the list is endless). If you are already running your own business, blogging can be your way of building awareness and attracting customers. Alternatively, target products manufactured by others for reselling by researching the Yellow Pages to find local suppliers whose products can be tested at home before they are marketed. It is preferable to go local rather than use to online wholesalers for this then, you avoid the extra shipping or long-distance delivery costs.
9. Post Frequently
David Sinick, a successfully popular content marketer stated, “There are tons of different factors that go into ranking well, but the biggest is high-quality content.” As a blogger, ensure that you are constantly creating new posts and uploads in order to keep your blog fresh and alive. The recommended minimum is twice a week. The more consistent you are, the more likely readers will pick the cue and return on a regular basis to check for new information. It is necessary to first research on Google AdWords to see the trending searches related to your subject in order to identify which topics to write about. Inform your readers beforehand that posts will not be forthcoming in case you are unable to maintain regular posting due to health or personal issues, trips overseas, and so on, so that they are not disappointed.
If you really want to stay abreast and out-compete other bloggers, switch to moblogging (or mobile blogging) especially when you are away from a laptop or computer. A regular smartphone is fitted with all the features, apps and tools you need to add content, including photos and videos onto your blog while you are on the move, so that the blog does not stagnate. Simply ensure that the blogging platform is suitably mobile-enabled. For example, both the Blogger App and WordPress for Android can be downloaded to your phone from Google Play and used free of charge. According to Neil Patel who is recognized by Forbes as one of the top 10 online marketers, “If you want to continually grow your blog, you need to learn to blog on a consistent basis.”
11. Maintain Quality
Avoid any form of plagiarism which can potentially lead to lawsuits and financial losses. Make a habit of submitting original content because this will not only be attractive to visitors, it will help maintain a favorable spot for the site in Google rankings. Also, make sure there is proper flow in the content and for instance, break down lengthy passages into short paragraphs which readers find easy to digest. Remember to include sub-headings and make the posts as neat and presentable as possible.
Don’t just disseminate facts. Make readers feel they are actually involved in a mutual dialogue where their issues and concerns are properly addressed and their questions intelligently answered. As Mike Butcher put it, “Blogging is a conversation, not a code”. Create compelling arguments that make your posts unique and reputable in the blogosphere. Monitor the language you use and keep it friendly and easy to follow. Remain courteous and respectful to those who may express opinions that are different from yours and don’t take negative feedback personally. Settle beforehand that you will set aside unwarranted provocations as you focus on the greater goal of building your business. Don’t be the one to initiate a conflict of words and don’t bother wasting your time and energy entertaining unprofitable arguments. Keep your objectives clearly before you as you develop the blog into a successful venture.
Insightful Tips from a SIx-Figure Blogger
10. Be Creative
By way of contrasting it with traditional marketing, the Content Marketing Institute, describes the new form of marketing as follows: Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience - and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Remember that somewhere on the planet, a new blog is being created every half a second! So ensure that your posts are as creative and original as possible. Spice them up by adding some humor and insightful observations. Make the content engaging and emotional. Reach out not just to inform, but to affect the feelings of the reader and elicit a reaction. Use language command to irresistibly draw the audience in. No matter the subject matter you’ve chosen for your niche, intrigue the reader enough to read it through. Avoid any communication that is dull, boring or monotonous. Create posts that are enlivening and inspiring as you strive to engage your readership.
Posting questions and creating polls for them is a good way to encourage participation. Study existing popular blogs which have content similar to yours and try to learn as much as possible from the style, language, structure and other features that the blog owners employ in order to outdo them in every way. Remember that unrealistic expectations on the amount of traffic your blog will generate, or how money you can earn in a given period of time may dampen your motivation and discourage your efforts, especially when the reality of the blog’s performance is exactly the opposite. Therefore, ensure you set targets that are reasonable, comporting yourself with balanced expectations. Don't allow initial results or anything else to hold you back from being the best at what you do especially when it comes to creativity. Matt Wolfe the creator of The WordPress Classroom states, “There’s a lot of information out there for free, so you’ve got to figure out what makes your information different.”