When they first became popular, blogs were nothing more than online diaries for the angst-ridden and the heartbroken; it was also used as platforms for think pieces written by the opinionated and the hypercritical. But blogs have taken on a life of their own and risen far above their early purpose. Today, not only do people make money blogging, there are actually bloggers who make a living solely off of their blogs. There are even those who make tens of thousands every month just from blogging.
Of course these are just the lucky few. Not everyone who starts a blog will successfully create a following, draw the attention of advertisers, and make money blogging; still, there are those who start a blog for fun and then, somehow, without really trying, stumble upon blogging success. How did they do that? And how can you cash in on the potential cash flow from blogging? Here are six ideas to try.
- Ads and Affiliate Marketing
Making money from ad space and signing up with an affiliate marketing program are the two most popular and most lucrative ways to make money blogging. Blogs and websites are prime real estate for advertisements. Bloggers make good use of the extra space around, on top, and at the bottom of their webpages by selling them as ad space either directly to the online advertisers or through a website that brokers the transaction. Some people make money blogging with Google AdSense, which uses video advertising, pay-per-click text, and display ads. Affiliate marketing is just as profitable. To make money through this method, bloggers can sign up with an affiliate marketing network and/or program such as Amazon Associates, Link Share, and Commission Junction.
- Blogging Services
Aside from earning from her own blog, a blogger can also make money blogging professionally for news websites, news aggregators such as The Huffington Post, and websites in her niche (e.g. Parenting and Babble in parenting, Mashable or Gizmodo in tech). She can also be paid to write guest posts for other bloggers.
If a blogger becomes popular enough in her niche, she may be offered sponsorships by big companies and small businesses wishing to promote their products or services. This means that the blogger will run the company’s ad and feature and/or write a review about the company’s product/s or service/s. In return, the blogger is compensated in cash and may even be given free merchandise. The number of sponsors a blogger gets and the nature of the sponsorship package she is offered will depend on the popularity of the blog. Sponsorships are the main income source of many career bloggers.
- Product Sales
Once a blogger has become well-known and reputable enough, she can start cashing in on her own reputation and start selling products. Many highly-regarded bloggers make a lot of money from setting up online stores and selling both physical and virtual products. Physical goods include instructional materials like books, DVDs, and course manuals. Some bloggers even make money from selling their own pre-loved clothes and household items. Some sell blog-themed merchandise. Virtual goods include e-books, online courses, apps, and webinars.
- Blogger as Brand
It’s not just the blog that can be monetized; it’s the blogger too. In fact, most well-known bloggers today make money blogging but earn a significant portion of their income from gigs where they sell not just the blog, but their own expertise and knowledge. This can only happen if the blogger becomes really famous, builds a strong following, and successfully makes a place for herself in the niche she blogs in. For example, some parenting bloggers today are flown across the world and are paid to speak at parenting conventions and product launches organized by big companies. Aside from speaking engagements, bloggers can also make money from offering consulting and coaching services, holding blog skills workshops and other events, and developing online courses for bloggers in their field.
- Indirect Methods
If a blogger strategizes well and is lucky, she can earn a living not just off the blog and her personal brand but through other opportunities that develop as a result of her blogging experience. For example, a well-known mommy blogger can be invited to collaborate with a children’s clothing designer or a children’s interior design stores. A person running a healthy living blog can start a healthy lifestyle consulting business with like-minded people. A blog can be syndicated. A blogger can make money blogging for major websites and other blogs in her niche. A blogger can connect with others in her niche and start a collective for-profit blog. The possibilities are endless.