With some bloggers posting income reports claiming returns of many thousands of dollars a month after only a few months blogging, it’s only natural to wonder whether you might not be able to do the same.
Before you can expect sizeable returns however you’ll first need to have a respectable amount of daily traffic to your blog.
After SEO (Google Search) one of the best ways for attracting blog traffic is via Pinterest, and one of the best guides to using Pinterest well is the ebook Pinteresting Strategies by Carly Campbell.
Twitter is also useful for blog promotion, though (unless you have a massive following) much more so when you can get influencers with tens of thousands of followers to promote your blog there for you for free. If you don’t think you can do that then see my review of Viral Content Bee and think again!
And if you’d like to grow your own Twitter account quickly see my review of Crowdfire, which makes using the follow/unfollow method quick and easy.
So now we’ve got the question of traffic covered, let’s get to my main theme:
How To Make Money Blogging In 2018
The two most popular products that bloggers like to create and sell are ebooks and courses.
Ebooks of course are easy to create: simply take a post (preferably a long one) copy it into Word, save it in pdf format and hey presto! you have an ebook.
Of course if you’re serious about making good sales you’ll want to be rather more going into more detail than that.
First of all you’ll want to do some research on what your target audience wants to read. This can involve finding out which are your most popular posts, taking note of feedback and blog comments, or going to your readers with a survey or poll.
Then you’ll want to come up with a great title (see my post ‘5 Tips For Writing Great Blog Titles’ for some useful ideas.)
Make sure you include a cover (see Joel Friedlander’s Monthly e-Book Cover Design Awards for some good ones) so as to look more professional, add a table of contents and you’re all set to sell your ebook to the world.
Courses are really just glorified ebooks–the big difference is that you can expect to make substantially more with a course.
eBooks are normally priced in the range of $3 to $40, whereas courses are generally in the $50 to $500 range. So on average you make about ten times the amount selling a Course that you do from selling one ebook.
And since bloggers who’ve done both generally report that it’s not that much more difficult to sell a $100 product as a $5 one, then the arguments for creating a course over an ebook sound very convincing.
If creating and marketing a course currently seems too intimidating however, it’s still not a bad idea to create an ebook just to get a feel for how the whole process works before moving on to a course later.
Why go to all the trouble of writing your own ebook or course when you can make money just by pointing people to products created and sold by someone else?
Affiliate Marketing isn’t generally as lucrative as those two options, but it’s still a great way to earn a ‘passive’ income on your blog.
It’s also usually not as simple as just pasting a picture and a link on your page–you’ll also want to write some kind of decent review of the product if you expect your readers to click and buy.
As an example I’m an affiliate with SiteGround web hosting, and have written a moderately lengthy review extolling the benefits of using them as your web host.
Clicking on one of the links in the review will take you to SiteGround’s landing page with details of their fees and benefits. If you then join SiteGround I’ll receive a percentage of the fee (eventually.)
It makes good sense for companies and bloggers to offer these programs, since it puts their products in front of huge new audiences that they would otherwise probably not have reached.
One of the most popular affiliate options for newbie bloggers is Amazon’s affiliate marketing program. Amazon have one of the biggest (and simplest) platforms, and affiliates earn approximately 10% commission on products purchased there by anyone who clicks the link on their website.
If you create your own ebook or course you can start your own affiliate program with a company such as sendowl.com. Carly Campbell for example (of ‘Pinteresting Strategies’) says that she makes more money from her affiliates selling her ebook for her than she does selling it from her own site.
An excellent course on affiliate marketing I’ve used myself and recommend is Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing online course.
Michelle, a multi-millionaire blogger, has become world famous over the last couple of years for her income reports. Her income continues to increase at a massive rate from month to month while she travels around the US with her husband, blogging from her RV.
Many people new to blogging view advertising as a potential source of income once they get enough traffic, but experienced, successful bloggers these days are more likely to warn them against it.
To quote from a few of them:
“But now you know the truth – advertising is a terrible way to make a living from your blog. It’s distracting for you and your readers, it makes you look like a cheap amateur, and perhaps worst of all, the amount of money it pays is almost embarrassing.” – Donna Merrill, Donna Merrill Tribe
“I just think there is often a much better way to do things if you are running an online business.” – Blog Tyrant
“I used to use some at my blog but when I noticed they slowed down the site I got rid of them, it wasn’t worth the little money I got from having them.” – Lisa Sicard, Inspire To Thrive
From talking to other bloggers and reading their posts and comments, it appears that some niches can justify advertising on their blogs, such as product sites selling white goods which would have a hard time signing up people for a mailing list.
You can usually expect to do far better by selling your own products such as ebooks or courses in most niches however.
To list a few of the cons of blog advertising:
1. Slowing down your site
Any blog using an ad network is almost guaranteed to be running more slowly. And since a blog that loads quickly is essential for a high ranking in Google, that could be costly from an SEO standpoint.
2. Losing readers cheaply
If you’re using a network like AdSense then you’re losing readers from your site for only a few cents (somewhat more with a company like MediaVine.) This can add up to a lot, but it’s still not a lot to lose readers that you’ve gained from all your hard work of post writing, promoting and SEO.
3. Annoying and intrusive
Many readers find ads annoying and intrusive, and this will have a negative effect on your bounce rate, as well as signups to your own products (if any.)
4. Loss of trust
Apart from Donna Merrill’s comment that ads make you look like a “cheap amateur” they can negatively impact trust in your site, as readers can view you as blogging only for the money you can make from advertising. Others will be concerned about cookies and scripts which your site might be downloading to their computer.
5. Makes your own ads less visible
If you’re advertising your own products (as recommended) on your blog then having big flashy ads for other people on your site is obviously going to make your own ads and links less visible. This can only have a detrimental affect on the click-through and conversion rate for those products.
6. Possible SEO penalties
Having spammy or aggressive ads on your site can cause it to be ranked poorly in search. Exactly how much of a penalty you can expect for your ads is unknown (and Google is constantly making changes to their algorithm, so nobody really knows for sure.)
One of the most common truisms you’ll see when browsing blog posts about ‘How to Make Money Blogging’ is “The money’s in the list!”
To quote one of the most successful bloggers Neil Patel: “Out of all of the channels I tested as a marketer, email continually outperforms most of them.”
When asked their biggest regret, successful bloggers will often say that it was not starting an email list early on in their blogs, thereby missing out on large numbers of willing customers they potentially could have had.
Despite being a fairly old technology, even these days it seems everyone has email which they’re also checking fairly regularly.
Most importantly, anyone who’s given you their email address is much more likely to be a loyal and willing customer for your products, with much higher conversion rates than with other methods.
So given the benefits, how do you get these precious email addresses? Lead Magnets of course! Just offer visitors to your blog something worthwhile in exchange for their email and you can start building your list straight away.
I’ve noticed many blogs offering updates on new posts as their lead magnet, but these days you definitely need more than that if you want to be successful. Creating an ebook from a post or collection of posts works much better, and as described above is also easy to do.
To actually offer the lead magnet you’ll need a web form.
On this blog I use ConvertKit which has served me well, and is a popular choice with many bloggers today.
You can see my lead magnet at the bottom of this post (currently a pdf on headline creation, though this may well change over time.)
Offering services is another popular method of helping to monetize a blog, with your blog serving as a portfolio demonstrating the quality of your work.
Some of the most popular services bloggers offer are:
- Website Design
- Virtual Assistant
- Social Media Management
- Graphic Design
- Email Marketing
Do you have any thoughts or ideas as to how to make money blogging? Let me know in the comments.
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