Great article about the harsh realities of blogging. I started my regional movie reviews site in 2002 and did alright during the ‘golden years’ when just consistently cranking out content was enough to garner solid traffic numbers for the 2% conversion rate to mean something, cash-wise. I’m now in the tough process of overhauling the site for the new reality you’ve outlined, already creating supporting screening listings, as well as relevant video, audio ebook and other product content to extend my brand’s reach across different popular platforms. I think the biggest challenges I’ve faced are changing my old mindset about building email lists and selling advertising space versus social media and adding affiliate ads, and figuring out how to apply them in a smart fashion to grow the site’s income potential within the narrow context of what a regional movie review/reference site can be. The current ersa of adblocker as well as Firefox’s new anti-tracking browser hiding adsense and amazon ads by default doesn’t help either.
Protip: Back in the day, when there weren’t so many blogs online, you could almost pick any topic and run with it. Now, not so much. There are definitely niches that are really, really full and therefore difficult to break into. How do you know? If you can easily find several dozen popular blogs on the topic, you might rethink your topic. On the other hand, just because a niche is big doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to choose it. After all, a large niche means there’s a market for it! In that case, you’ll have to find a really unique angle. Spend time watching the main players. Knowing your way around will help you fine-tune the “thing” that will make you stand out.
Most bloggers actually welcome the advance to create great content for their platform. So you shouldn’t be shy in at least trying. There’s no harm in trying. If you succeed, then it will be a big win. If not, continue to network and add value on your own, and eventually, as you build it, they will most certainly come. Just don’t expect it to happen quickly or easily.
My decision to learn how to start a blog and begin making money from it on the side of my day job, is what propelled me into building a six-figure freelance writing business with clients like LinkedIn, Zendesk, Google, Intuit and more. On top of that, starting a blog has helped me generate thousands of dollars in passive income each month and book interviews with some of the world’s top entrepreneurs for my podcast.
According to the State of the Blogging Industry 2017, professional bloggers average $138,046 in annual profit. That’s certainly a respectable salary if you ask us. In other words, we dare say that professional blogging is a viable career choice, though it is notable that the path there will be long and rough because it is largely a do-it-yourself industry.
Sometimes this means they post once a week while other times it means they post on the same day of every week. Some even post multiple times a week, but it all depends on how much quality content you're able to produce. Consistency isn't all about your editorial schedule, either. It's also about the type of posts you publish as well as the intros and outros you use for every post. It's even about the styles you use on your blog for fonts, images, buttons, colors and more.
And if you want to maximize your blog’s potential for earning an income (maybe the reason you're learning how to start a blog in the first place?), then it’s always worth it to own your platform and go with a self-hosted WordPress blog, powered by a hosting provider like Bluehost that'll have your back on any of the technical questions & issues you run into.
23. Affiliates – There are many affiliate networks, such as FlexOffers and CJ Affiliate that allow you to promote other people’s products and services. You simply put a link or a banner on your page and then you get a percentage if someone clicks through and buys the product/service. You’ll want to select products that are specifically within your blog’s category.This is an effective way to earn money once you have the traffic coming to your blog.
Hi Ramsay I think I may have replied to someone else’s comment! Thanks for your very helpful article. I have a lot of learning to do. I signed up with Blue Host rather impulsively, and paid $7.95 for 12 months- and only then found your website with the excellent deal of $2.95. I have another blog but now want to start a new one but I realize I’m not quite ready. Can I cancel with Blue Host – I’m still within the 30 days – and sign up later, but, most importantly, I don’t want to lose my domain name. Thanks.
Consider a free blogging service. Many people opt to create a free blog using popular services such as WordPress.com or Google Blogger. This is a good option for people who aren't familiar with web design, don't want to pay for their own hosting, or enjoy the ease and stability that comes with these services. These services do have limitations on how you can make money using them, however, so make sure your blog won't break the terms of service.
If I concentrate only on existing customers I may have lose up many fans who can be my buyers too someday. If they did not buy my products no problem but they can help to spread my blog to others which is also a free advertising. In other words I need to have these sticky communities (regardless if they are buyers or not) to keep my blog active and alive by their comments, suggestions and contributions (in term of free articles).
Hey Alex & Lauren! All this information has been so usefull and so easy to understand, i am very grateful. But i have a query, i live in a country in South America (Chile) where spanish is the main language, therefore i don`t know if its best to create my blog in spanish (which is easier for me because i have much more vocabulary and grammer skills) or go with the world wilde language English. Hoping to hear from you guys, thanks!
Readers want to be entertained. Do you have a fascinating story? Do you lead a wildly interesting life? Are you outrageously funny? Everyone needs down time and plenty of blogs exist purely to entertain. With all the available entertainment these days, the key is providing something totally unique. As a bonus, you could be entertaining and helpful at the same time. For example, if your quirky family raises llamas, talk about how you raise llamas not just that you raise llamas. Entertaining + helpful = a great combination.
One criticism: I bought the print version, and there are a few illustrations there that were obviously done in color for the e-Book version, but they wind up in black-and-white in the print version. Surely it could have been easy enough to change the way these illustrations looked in black and white to optimize it for the print book e.g. using dotted or dashed lines, or more strongly contrasting shades of gray? I felt rather frustrated at that. However, it was the only problem I encountered (it only affects literally a few small things) and it was not a major drawback. I still give the book a full 5 stars, it's still great despite this minor issue.