There are many reasons businesses, start-ups, freelancers and individuals can benefit from having a blog, from increased traffic to attracting and converting more customers. While the main focus of your blog will be to build your brand and gain attention for your business, did you know you can actually bring in more revenue by blogging, too?
We’re not saying it’s easy or that it doesn’t take work, but done right, your business blog can actually become another solid income stream for your company.
Here’s a statistic from HubSpot that’s an eye-opener on what having a blog can do for you: “Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads and 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts.”
So, how do you get paid by blogging?
1. Plan out what you want to achieve
If you’re already blogging and it’s not working for you, then it’s time to take stock and set out a plan for what you want to do with your blog.
If you’re new to blogging, you’re in a good position, as you can make a plan before you start and decide how you want to move forward.
Carol Tice from Make a Living Writing has some straightforward and practical advice on planning your blog, getting started and being realistic about it.
Basically, you need to know why you are blogging, who your target audience is and be able to plan out an interesting and eyeball-grabbing editorial calendar that will bring in the audience you want to attract. Good, targeted traffic is essential if you want to earn money from your blog.
2. Write fabulous content and be consistent
So much of the blogosphere is taken up by people writing boring, uninteresting blogs or people who blog madly every day for weeks and then don’t blog again for months.
Neither of those things will get you noticed, get you clients or bring in any earnings from your blog.
Your content needs to be highly attractive to your target market, beautifully written, engaging and with a clear call to action at the end. If you want your audience to do something, such as signing up for your newsletter or clicking an affiliate link, a clear call to action is essential.
Many people start off blogging with every intention to blog daily, but discover that it’s more work than they think and let their efforts tail off. A blog which hasn’t been posted on for months can make your business look like it’s inactive, so it’s important that you do blog consistently. Not only that, but adding fresh content regularly is brilliant for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and will help your site rise in the search engine rankings where it will gain more traffic.
3. Direct ways to make money from your blog
Here’s the nitty gritty on the ways you can bring in income streams from your blog. Most bloggers work a combination of all of these to keep money coming in consistently, and the great thing about this is that you can do what appeals to you, and change things up until you find what works.
• Affiliate marketing
As an affiliate, you sign up to affiliate programmes for other people’s products and services, and then you promote them on your blog and in your newsletter.
The way you make money is that when one of your visitors clicks your affiliate link (a link that is unique to you), the owner of the product you are recommending can track any purchases through your link and will send you a commission on an agreed basis.
It’s simple, straightforward, and easy to set up.
However, it does take work in choosing the right products and services for your blog. They must fit in with your aims for the blog and appeal to your audience, and you’ll also want what you are promoting to be of high quality, because if it’s not, it will reflect badly on you.
• Ad revenue/Pay Per Click
You can place suitable ads (also known as banner ads) onto your blog, in the header, footer or sidebar, or through your content.
Again, you need to carefully select the right ads that suit your audience. If you write about cake decorating, for example, any ads that promote sugar flowers or decorating equipment are likely to get clicks from your readers.
You can take paid banner ads direct from companies you want to work with or sign up through an ad network, such as Google AdSense, BlogHer or Federated Media.
This works better for high-traffic sites, and you can certainly charge more for ads placed directly on your site if you have good traffic and an engaged community, but even a small site can earn some money from paid ads. It might start off as a trickle of small change, but as your site grows, it can add up.
• Selling physical products and services
Unless blogging is your business model, your blog’s main focus is to get attention for your business, and here’s where your blog can start making money for you by directing people to look at your product or service offerings.
You can also develop new products, based on what your audience wants, that fit in with your main business.
You might sell digital products, such as e-books, courses, audio books, or images; physical products such as paperbacks, gifts or clothing; or services like copywriting, web design or graphics.
Having an active and attractive blog is an excellent way to bring attention to what your business does, and to point people to your sales page.
And if you think it can’t be done, if your blog seems way too small and insignificant, read this interview with highly successful blogger Tsh Oxenreider on Entrepreneur who has some excellent advice: “Don’t compare your Chapter 1 to someone else’s Chapter 20.” Tsh also offers good advice on how to start and keep blogging here.
Blogging can be hard work. If you’re not naturally a writer, it can be an increasing struggle to continually put out excellent quality content in line with your editorial schedule.
But you don’t have to do everything yourself. When you need to get writers for your blog, you could reach out to other non-competing but complementary businesses in your field and see if they’d like to do guest posts for your blog. That way, you get regular, fresh content that you didn’t have to write. Guest blogs are an excellent way to keep your blog relevant and up to date, as well as offer a different viewpoint and perspective.
If you’re not a writer but you know your business would benefit from a blog, and that extra income stream from blogging wouldn’t hurt either, then all is not lost. You can hire a writer to blog for you, while you concentrate on the aspects of running your business that you love. And, if done well, over time, the money you make from your blog will more than cover the costs of hiring a writer.
Whichever way you choose to blog, whether you do it yourself or hire someone to write for you, the benefits of regular blogging, both in extra income and increased awareness of your business and your brand, are clear to see.