I’m working with Scottish Friendly today to bring you this post about how to make money blogging. Scottish Friendly have recently published an article on this subject and below I’ll be sharing with you my experience of making money from a blog!
When I first started blogging here on Disease Called Debt, I wasn’t thinking about making money from it. For those of you who remember this site in its early days (extremely small text, purple design and lack of contact page for quite a while), this would have been pretty obvious! Yep, this blog was just for me to document my thoughts and frustrations on getting out of debt, nothing more.
As I started blogging more, I ended up reading a lot of blogs myself. Blogs about debt and blogs about blogging! I realised that it was actually possible to make money from blogging and there were plenty of people doing so already. Some bloggers don’t want to make money from their blogs as they consider it “selling out”. However, I personally believe that it’s possible to make money from a blog without diluting your voice.
At the height of our debt troubles, making extra money was the one thing that I knew would help to get us out of debt, so trying to make this blog into an income stream was really important to me. Especially as there are blog running costs to think about! Anyway, the fact that I could do this around my day job appealed to me greatly, not to mention that blogging is a lot of fun! I know of plenty of tedious ways to earn money and blogging is definitely not one of them. So I set about monetising the site.
How to make money blogging
I’m not an expert on making money from blogging by any means, but I can explain what I do to bring in some money and how you can do the same. First of all, you need to be able to write regularly (at least twice a week, more frequently if possible) about a topic that you have an interest in. I had (and still have) a lot to say about debt so I’d already picked a good topic for me without even knowing it.
1. Constantly getting traffic and subscribers will help your blog make money
Making money blogging is all about getting traffic to your site and better still, building a list of subscribers. You may notice that I have a couple of places here on the site where you can subscribe to get notified of future posts. I can keep in touch with the readers that want to hear from me and when it comes to making money from blogging, that means a lot to potential advertisers.
Just in case you were wondering, I don’t bombard my subscribers with marketing emails – but if an advertiser came along wanting to promote something really helpful to my readers, then I might consider promoting them in a special newsletter. I haven’t done this yet (in fact I’ve only used my subscriber list a handful of times to promote my eBooks when they’ve been on free promotion) but believe me, subscribers are the bread and butter of a blog. They are readers that keep on returning and that’s why they’re super important! (Dear readers: in case I don’t thank you enough for subscribing and continuing to read my posts here – thank you sincerely! You’re very much valued!)
Traffic can be hard to come by in the early days of building a blog. To get Google (and other search engines) to notice you, you need to be publishing regular posts on your chosen subject. With anything you write, you should optimise it for search engines, with the ultimate goal to get increased rankings for specific keywords that are relevant to your site. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in itself is a whole different post but you can read more information about it here.
2. Use advertising to make money on your blog
Do you see those display adverts on the right hand side here? I hope they don’t distract you from the main content here TOO much but they do help me make a little money from this blog. These adverts are part of Google Adsense’s advertising placement service. They hopefully deliver targeted advertising to you based on what you’ve been searching for recently on the internet.
If you click on an advert, I get paid. Sometimes I make pennies, sometimes I make pounds from a click through. I’m not allowed to click on the adverts myself so unfortunately I can’t sit here clicking ads to making plenty of money (I wish). The good thing about display advertising like this is that once it’s set up, you can pretty much leave it to run itself, although you may want to play around with placement now and then to see what works and what doesn’t.
Another way of advertising that’s much more profitable is when advertisers book adverts directly, either through banner advertising or by generating brand awareness in the form of content. Direct advertisers are usually interested in traffic levels, engagement (i.e. whether people comment and interact with my blog) and what the site is about too.
3. Make money blogging by selling products
One of the best ways to make money blogging (in my opinion) is to create your own products that you can sell on your site. If you create your own products, there’s no middleman to worry about who will of course take a cut of any profit. I’ve created three eBooks now for this site which are available for sale on Amazon globally.
They’re priced reasonably and they sell – sometimes frequently, sometimes not – but they sell regardless. And what’s more, the income I earn from my eBooks is passive income. This is my favourite way to earn money from the blog because I’ve done the work once and I continue to get paid for it even now and hopefully in the future.
4. Promote affiliate products to make money blogging
Another way that you can make money blogging is by signing up to affiliate programmes and promoting their products or services in return for a commission. I don’t do much of this on Disease Called Debt but I really should try to make more of an effort. Many bloggers use Amazon’s affiliate programme to start with because it’s easy to set up but there are plenty of other programmes to choose from on sites like Clickbank or Shareasale.
I struggle with affiliate marketing because I can never think of anything that I would buy personally that’s related to debt that I could also promote to my readers. Also, my readers want to save money just like me! That’s not to say it can’t be done on this site but I definitely need to give it more thought.
But let’s say for example, that I found an amazing moneybox gadget which magically doubled a person’s savings on Amazon’s website. I know for sure that my readers would love one of these (who wouldn’t)! So, I would describe it, add a link to it through an Amazon affiliate code and then if you purchased that product (or in fact anything at all from Amazon), I would earn a commission. High value products convert into better commissions. Affiliate marketing can be done easily if you have a niche website based on product reviews for a particular product e.g. cameras. That’s because cameras are usually pricey and there’s tons of different types to write about!
How long does it take to make money blogging?
Making money blogging can certainly be done. But it usually takes a little time. I didn’t earn anything from this blog for over a year and I know many other bloggers who’ve said the same thing. Some bloggers make a little income and some even make a full time living from money earned via their blogs. So if you enjoy writing and are prepared to put in some effort for quite a while without seeing any immediate reward, then I’d really recommend blogging as a way to make money!
What do you think about making money blogging? Don’t forget to check out Scottish Friendly’s “Make Money Blogging” resource for even more information on this topic. You can also connect with them on Twitter.
*Image sourced under creative commons from Flickr and modified by Disease Called Debt.