Web logs—now more commonly known as blogs—have been around since the late 1990s. What started as a way for individuals to publish their opinions or life experiences on the Internet for everyone to see has become a bona fide phenomenon, to the point that there are nearly 160 million blogs in existence.
And there are a lot of people making money from blogging, either directly or indirectly. While blogging is not a get-rich-quick method of earning an income, with time and effort, blogging can go from being a hobby to a part-time job to a career. Here are some of the most common ways bloggers earn money from their blogs.
DIRECT INCOME FROM BLOGGING
The simplest way to make a modest income from your blog is by way of ads. With Google’s Blogger, one of the most popular blog platforms, you can opt to have ads placed on your blog. The ads are usually related to your blog content, with the idea that your readers will be interested in them. Every time one of your readers clicks through an ad, you earn a small commission, typically 20-50 cents. It’s a passive way to make money, but unless your blog has followers numbering well into the thousands, it’s also not going to pay the mortgage.
If you’re blogging about a particular area of knowledge or experience (for example, healthy kids’ meals, fertility treatments, autism), the more you blog, the more of an expert you’ll become on this topic. By writing an ebook and offering it for sale on your blog and through other sites, you can earn money and greater notoriety. Ebooks establish you as an expert voice, help build your credibility and can attract new followers. Amazon’s CreateSpace is one of many online publishing sites that guide writers through the process from start to finish.
Offer Paid Content
Some bloggers offer free and paid content on their blogs. For example, your readers might tune in to see your free weekly recipe posting, and be tempted to pay for access to your full online catalog of recipes. If you offer tutorials, online courses in page or video form, or other how-to content that your readers value, you don’t have to give it away for free. You can create a membership site where subscribers pay a reasonable fee to access your content. Our favorite example? Mamiverse contributor and Momables founder Laura Fuentes, who sells subscriptions for healthy kids’ lunch recipes and menus.
Read Related: How Blogging & Social Media Changed My Life
INDIRECT INCOME FROM BLOGGING
Writing a blog doesn’t always open the floodgates of direct income. But it can lead to other opportunities, and help you build skills that you can parlay into income.
A Book Deal
The rules of the game have changed, and publishers are now looking for writers who have an established base of readers, followers and fans. So that means you update your blog regularly, and use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and a host of other social media platforms to build your following and profile. “As a writer, if you don’t exist on social media, you kind of don’t exist,” says Mamiverse Editor in Chief Lorraine C. Ladish, whose blog, Success Diaries, was noticed by a publisher and turned into a print book. “Had I not pushed my blog and built my following, I wouldn’t have gotten Success Diaries published in book form.”
If you’re updating your blog regularly and you’re proud of the content you’re publishing, you need to share it with influential people. I know this from firsthand experience. I sent a few of my early blog posts to an acquaintance who worked for an online news hub, and I asked for her opinion. She not only gave me her opinion—she gave me a job—initially writing and later editing for her site. (Hint, it’s Mamiverse!) I set out writing my blog as a way of reigniting my dormant creativity, and it has turned into much more than I ever expected!
Building New Skills
When Eileen Carter Campos started blogging, she didn’t know what Twitter was, had never used Facebook and thought SEO was an STD. Now she’s a regular social media maven! She used her early days of blogging to learn, absorb and build her writing, technology and social media skills—all things you need to make money from blogging. Now she is invited to be a brand ambassador, gets paid to endorse products she uses and trusts, and is paid to manage the social media profiles of brands and products. She is also Mamiverse’s community manager It didn’t happen overnight, but Eileen used her passion and commitment to build herself a new career.
And don’t forget the swag!
Brands know that bloggers have influence. A sincere product endorsement from a popular blogger—a beauty blogger endorsing a new BB cream she loves, for instance—can be worth more than a dazzlingly expensive full page magazine ad. So if you have enough followers and you have a niche to which products and brands can attach, they will send you products to review—lots of them—from makeup to vacuum cleaners to cameras to diamond earrings (really!). They will invite you to VIP events at blogger conferences, to product launches and to private parties where the swag bags rival those handed out to Grammy presenters. It’s not cash in hand, but it sure is a fun way to get free stuff!
Writing a blog starts with following your passion and instinct to write about what you know and care about. With time and dedication, the followers will come. As you grow your brand, you’ll find new opportunities for income, both those that you go looking for and those that come knocking!