Blogging can be both rewarding and highly lucrative. Especially if you know how to monetize your blog. You have a message you’d like to share. Or you’re passionate about an area of expertise you would like to teach. This global pandemic may have caused you to evaluate your life. You may even have lost your job, pushing you to look at alternative sources of income.
What’s the purpose of your blog?
There may be many reasons causing you to look at blogging to make an income. However, making an income from blogging should not be the only reason for your blog. It’s important you know your purpose for wanting to blog. Your reasons for why you do anything will affect your level of commitment and your level of success. I started blogging purely from a passion for writing and a keen interest in personal growth and transformation.
It’s not just about you
In this digital world, you now have unlimited access to masses of people. Anyone at any time can read your work. Blogging is about engaging an audience. The challenge is that, unlike actually talking to someone, you don’t have the benefit of instant feedback. You need to be attuned to your reader. As important as asking yourself why you want to blog is asking, why would someone want to read your blog?
Blogging allows me to align my calling to empower women in the area of personal finance with my passion for writing. Blogging can be rewarding when you are aiming to make a difference in the life of your reader. Successful blogging is always about meeting the needs of your reader. To put it in a nutshell, blogging is an inexpensive marketing tool allowing you to engage with an audience.
I love blogging. I also enjoy traveling. Blogging allows me to work wherever I want. For me, that means working in beautiful places around the world. Preferably by a beach, with a breathtaking sunrise.
I find fulfillment when my readers tell me they find value in what I have to say. That what they learned through my blogs made a difference in their lives.
Know your niche
Once you’ve decided on your subject area, brainstorm as many things as possible that you can write about that particular topic. For great content ideas, Ann Handley’s book “Everybody Writes Your Go-To Guide to Create Ridiculously Good Content” is an excellent resource.
Organize them into categories hone in on the ones that resonate with you and will resonate with your readers. Finding a niche is key. It should not only be what you know. For greater success, it should also something you enjoy.
You may know everything there is to know about cameras because you worked in a camera store to put yourself through school.
There is no getting away from the need for great, engaging, useful content!
It’s much easier to write something about which you are passionate and informed.
Set Yourself Apart
Because there are so many bloggers out there, you must find a way to set your voice apart from the rest. This is really all about building your brand. If you are passionate about cameras and specifically DSLR cameras or cameras best for vlogging, how can you set yourself apart from the other bloggers online who write about DSLR cameras? How can your message be different? If your idea is similar to another blogger, why not use a different style of writing? Throw in some humor on a technical topic.
Being specific is more effective than trying to be all things to all people. Become an expert in your subject area. Your unique value proposition is the essence of your brand. It’s what sets you apart. It’s the core benefit or solution to a problem that your audience has. That you are able to solve!
What you need
All you need is a laptop, reliable wifi, persistence, and a vision. You will need to create a website or landing page to write your blog. Your website needs to be hosted. That’s the platform that will hold your website. Bluehost and GoDaddy are the most widely used website hosting companies. You will also need an email marketing service to collect contact information as you branch out by offering services through your blog. It is advisable you use a paid email service instead of a free email service only because it looks more professional.
Depending on your budget, a laptop can run from $300.00 to $2,000. If you want to be able to easily carry your laptop then one that is light and with a smaller screen may work better for you. If you want to blog at home and like being able to clearly see what you are typing, then you may prefer a widescreen. Laptops range from 10 inches to 17-inch screens. Or you may prefer blogging on a desktop computer.
When building your website, I would recommend creating something simple, user-friendly, and easy to navigate. One to three pages is all you really need. A home page encapsulating the essence of your message. The blog page and an opt-in page for readers to subscribe to your newsletter if you want to collect emails and extend the relationship between you and your reader.
In building your website I would recommend using WordPress. It is widely used and has an extensive selection of website themes. Your hosting company probably offers a few themes without you having to buy one. I would suggest buying a WordPress theme you like, instead of using a complementary one offered by your hosting company. This ensures that you own the website you’re creating and have all the rights to its content.
It is essential your blogs are written grammatically correct. I recommend downloading Grammarly software to check for errors. It is more thorough than the spell and grammar check on Word. Another software that I believe is mandatory is Hemmingway Editor. The basic program is free and will check for run-on sentences, passive voice, and even grade the level of your writing. This ensures you are writing at a level suited to your target audience.
Know your audience
Once you know your niche, it’s time to learn all you can about your audience. If you are passionate about travel, be specific about what it is in particular about travel that you want to blog. If it’s travel for millennials, be prepared for a lot of competition. I would suggest narrowing it down further. Maybe it’s about working while traveling. Get to know all that is possible to know about millennials who travel and work at the same time.
Where does your audience ‘reside’? Which social media platform do they use?
According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of adults in the US use social media regularly. Facebook and Youtube are the most popular social media platforms. According to Statistica, Instagram attracts younger audiences (Millennials and Generation Z). Baby boomers are more inclined to use Facebook.
What are the reading habits of your audience? People are not going to look for your website. You need to go out and reach them. That means posting your articles on media sites beyond just your website. Extend your reach with a presence on numerous social media sites and on youtube. To create a presence, you will need a compelling message posted regularly. Once a week, if possible.
Be relevant to your target audience. Address a pressing issue they may be facing. Allow for engagement. This means posing questions in your articles. Allow for feedback. If you allow for feedback, ensure that you respond promptly. Feedback will give you insight into your audience and their pressing needs.
To optimize your site and increase your readership, your blog posts should be relevant, well-written, and easy to understand. Using software such as Grammarly and Hemmingway Editor will ensure the content is grammatically correct and easy to read.
For a wider audience, it’s best to write at a grade eight reading level. Again, it depends on your audience. If you are targeting a post-doctoral readership then it’s a different audience altogether. The ideal length of your blog posts should be about 1600 words or a six-minute read.
Have a system in place
Automate. How many blogs are you going to put out each week? Inundating your audience is not what is needed. Good content overrules. But you must do this regularly. Blogging once in a while will not cut it. Be realistic as to how often you are able to produce a good-quality blog post.
If you have a full-time job you have less flexibility. Keep to a scheduled time to write before turning it into a full-time job. For your blog to be successful, you need to build a following. In order to do so, your readers need to see consistency. Decide how often you will post a blog. Where will you post? This is when it becomes essential you learn as much as you can about your audience.
Use a tracking system that can post a scheduled article and track readership. One that will analyze who is actually reading your posts. Odoo and Hootsuite are apps that do these efficiently. Once you get clear about your target audience, then you will need to employ search engine optimization (SEO) tools to attract a larger readership.
To put it in a nutshell, Search Engine Optimization is the process of increasing the visibility of your new website in order to increase the traffic to the website. The outcome of a good SEO strategy is that your website ranks higher on google. If someone was to do a google search on a subject you’ve written on, employing a good SEO strategy allows your website to show up higher on the list.
Monetize your message
- YOU MUST have a highly visible contact form on your website/landing page.
- Extend your social media presence: Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Create a YouTube channel. And allow for YouTube ads.
- Add affiliate links in your blogs.
- Include ads on your blogs (eg. Google AdWords)
- Submit articles to other publications.
- Create a course on your website related to your subject matter.
- Sell eBooks on your blog posts.
- Start charging for membership.
- Provide coaching.
- Recommend products or services (whereby you receive a commission) other than affiliate links.
Post your blog posts on various social media sites. Sites such as medium.com allow just about anyone to publish their articles. The key is to drive traffic to your website. And then keep them engaged. Blogging is a great way to build your brand and your presence.
But you must extend your presence through as many social media platforms as possible. In summary, blogging allows you to share your message and generate income sharing what you’re passionate about. It is a great springboard to many sources of income.
You get to select what you’re interested in. The objective is to get people to read your posts and come back for more. If they find value in it, they will continue to seek you out on other platforms. And even pay for your message!
I have found that reading about successful bloggers has been helpful in guiding me in my passion for blogging. Below are a few books that you may find helpful.
To learn more about the basics of blogging – here.
More about building an online business – here.
And to become a freelance writer – here.
Jennifer Thompson helps businesses grow and individuals manifest life on their terms. She can be reached at email@example.com