If you’re a naturally gifted writer, blogging might seem like an obvious career path. But how easy really is it to make a living from blogging?
And what about if you run a business? You’ll likely have heard plenty of people lauding the benefits of posting blogs, but how long will it be before you begin to notice the impact on your business growth?
In this post, we’ll lay out the different potential revenue streams for writers and businesses, and explore how long it might take before you start to see a return on your investment or an increase in your bank balance.
How soon can you make money blogging as a writer?
If you’re creating your own blog from scratch on a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or a publishing platform like Medium or Blogger, you might be wondering ‘How can I make money from my blog?’ Here are some of the main ways:
The main income streams for bloggers
You’ll be pleased to hear that there are no upfront costs for allowing advertisers to place adverts on your blog. However, to make an income, you’ll need to be smart about which form of advertising you accept. Here are the three most common:
- Pay-per-click (PPC): Blog traffic doesn’t matter as much as quality in PPC – even if you only have a few followers, if the ads on your blog are relevant enough to appeal to every follower, you’ll do well.
- Pay-per-Mile (PPM): ‘Mile’ doesn’t mean distance here – it’s Latin for ‘thousand’. You’ll be paid a few pounds for every thousand impressions (views) the ad receives. If your blog isn’t achieving four-figure view stats every day or week, you’re unlikely to make much money from PPM.
- Pay-per-action (PPA): This is usually the highest-paying, but also the most demanding form of advertising. If your followers complete an action after clicking your link – buying something, joining a mailing list or doing a survey – you could earn £30 or more each time.
The slight catch is that many ad platforms have a minimum withdrawal amount so you won’t be able to access the funds until your ads have earnt you £20, say, or even £50.
These links or ads are inserted in the middle of your blog post, and you get paid a small commission every time someone clicks the link and completes an action (like buying a product or filling in a form). You don’t necessarily need a big audience to benefit from affiliate links, as long as the products you’re advertising are relevant to the content of your blog and aren’t going to annoy your readers.
Ever seen a post tagged ‘#ad’? That’s a sponsored post. The more traffic you receive, the more influential your blog and opinions become, meaning more companies will be desperate for you to write about how much you like their product.
If you’re not confident enough yet to rely on your personal blog for your income, you could hone your craft and build your portfolio by writing for a copywriting service like Copify, or by searching job sites for “freelance blogger roles”.
Your pay structure will be much more secure as it won’t rely on something as unpredictable as impressions or views: you might be paid by the word or paid a fixed rate per article.
There are plenty of blogging success stories: Smartblogger has grown three separate blogs into $1m-per-year enterprises.
But this is far from the case for all bloggers. If you’re building your blog from scratch, you’ll probably need to spend around three to six months building a backlog of quality content before you start to make a passive income. And it could take anything from one to three years before your blog makes enough money to allow you to quit your day job.
How quickly can you make money from blogs as a business?
Don’t believe you really can use blogging to grow your business? Most of the financial benefits of blogging for businesses are indirect, but still incredibly important. Here are just a few:
SEO and inbound links
By using targetted long-tail keywords, quality backlinks and meta descriptions in your blogs, you’re guaranteed to boost your position in search results. According to Hubspot, B2B marketers who have a blog achieve 67% more leads than those who don’t.
You’ll also present yourself as an authority figure in your industry, meaning other businesses will link to your site in their own blog posts as a reliable source: your inbound links could increase by up to 97%.
Remember though that this won’t result in overnight success – building a successful SEO strategy can take some months to start gaining traction, depending on the keyword you are targeting. But in spite of that, it is one of the most effective means of increasing your online reach.
Free advertising and PR
While PPC campaigns and banner ads are great for increasing traffic to your pages, they require you to sacrifice business funds and are best used to support a wider content marketing strategy that encourages organic traffic. By regularly publishing unique, well-written and insightful blog posts which link to your products, you will increase your brand’s reputation and visibility online, which will be reflected in the search results and conversions.
What’s more, business bloggers are often interviewed by journalists for their expertise so if you successfully position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, you could end up getting excellent PR completely free.
It all boils down to attracting customers who trust your company and like your product enough to buy from you. It’s clear that posting frequency has a huge role to play: Hubspot reported that 92% of businesses who blogged multiple times a day acquired at least one customer via their blog, while just 56% of those who only posted one blog a month attracted a new customer.
How soon your business can make money from blogging depends on how successfully you’re able to promote your posts, and the quality of your content. If you’re not a natural-born writer, it can pay to work with a professional blogging service. By implementing blogs into a solid content marketing plan you could start sowing the seeds for long-term organic lead generation almost immediately.