Blogging has evolved from writing static posts on a personal blog in hopes of attracting readers, to a social networking platform for communicating and interacting with readers. Individuals and companies know the power of blogging because it adds another effective venue to stay in touch with clients and customers.
Although blogging has been around for a decade now, many writers still consider it as a “newer” form of freelance writing.
The Internet has attracted plenty of true and false headlines about how much money an average blogger can earn. Perhaps, you too, have encountered exaggerated claims about reaching an audience of millions of readers without doing much work—along with gaining business sponsorship, landing lucrative ad deals, and publishing what you want, when you want. This catches the desires of many would-be bloggers, and falsely hints at the possibility of earning thousands of dollars monthly with your writing.
The Reality of Freelance Blogging
It is very challenging to earn a full-time living as a freelance blogger. You need to develop many acute skill-sets. The very basic skills include having an excellent understanding of: 1) online advertising and marketing, 2) layout and web design, 3) how to write engaging content that appeals to the interests and desires of your readers, and 4) how to grow, maintain and handle a sporadic flow of readership.
Blogging is accessible to everyone, with a level of skills and talents, whether a professional writer or a high school dropout. Anyone with an Internet connection can launch a blog within minutes from anywhere in the world. Blogging services like Blogger.com, WordPress and Tumblr provide free blogging platforms that make you an instant blogger. As a result, millions of blogs exist and compete for attention.
Nearly all blogs (corporate or personal) offer free information. It is extremely challenging to ask readers—politely or persuasively—to pay you to read your posts, regardless of how helpful your information is. You might be the foremost guru on U.S. diplomacy or a leading advocate on healthy eating habits…but few people are going to pay $5—or $1— to read your blog posts. The obvious reason is that readers know they can find thousands of other experts who provide similar (perhaps better) material; besides, fist-time visitors are unlikely to go through a credit card or PayPal transaction process.
Bloggers use other methods to generate revenue. The most common is integrating Google’s Adsense into your blog, which makes relevant ads appear next to each post. Whenever a reader clicks on the ad, Adsense pays you a percent of the “click-thru.” You can bolster that amount with other forms of pay-per-click services from popular “advertising networks” such as Chitika.com—this ad provider places relevant banner and text ads on blog pages. A third way to increase revenue is signing up with an Affiliate Network to promote companies’ services and products. Services like Commission Junction (CJ.com), LinkShare.com, ShareASale.com, and Clickbank.com are pay-per-sale services: when a reader clicks on your affiliate link and purchases a product or service at the company’s website or online store, you receive a commission.
This leads us to an obvious problem: stuffing too much advertising on blog pages containing your useful content.
The most annoying is advertising that blocks useful content until the user clicks on the ad either to vanish it or to visit
the advertiser’s website. Nevertheless, any advertising that purposely blocks content will aggravate readers. This can reduce your readership and restrict readers from recommending your blog to their friends. Your reputation online (referred to as your “social status”) is one of the best sources for generating web traffic. Allowing too much advertising can work against you in making money. You will need to identify a suitable medium between excessive advertising (and little traffic) and limited to no advertising (and high traffic, but limited revenue). Thankfully, you can gauge the
“attitudes” of your readers by asking them about their likes and dislikes. Reader interaction is among the best tools of a useful blog: not only can you use your readers’ comments to fine-tune your blog, removing items that readers find aggravating or repulsive, but it also helps you to establish personal relationships with your readers—the type of relationships that turn readers into devoted fans.
Here are a few other ways to earn money by blogging:
1) It’s plausible to bypass advertising entirely by restricting some of your content from public eyes, except to subscribers. For instance, you could keep your latest six or seven blog posts available to the public, and request a monthly membership fee to view your full archives from the past year.
2) Or you could keep all posts and archives open to the public, but create extended or specialized content for a one-time fee.
3) You might even assemble your best blog posts into an eBook, adding new material to
it, and selling it at Amazon.com. Even if all of your blog posts are accessible online, the amount of readers who are happy to pay for an eBook containing your useful content (all formatted, condensed, and packaged) will surprise and impress you.
4) In addition, you could mirror Salon.com’s advertising ploy— provide all of your content free of charge to any reader who doesn’t mind looking at a full-screen advertisement before clicking through to the free content. Another alternative is to count on your readers’ enthusiasm to “sponsor” content that they know is unique and helpful. You can do this by
adding PayPal’s free Donation button to your blog, asking for “donations.” Many popular bloggers and content aggregators ask for donations at their blog(s) because they discovered they can generate enough income monthly to pay their rent and bills.
5) You can sign up with Clicksor.com and PayPerPost.com and get paid for writing a positive review about a company’s product, service or website.
You can discover many different ways to earn money with your blog—of course, all income-generating ideas and services are worthless if you fail to attract and maintain readers. Here are three basic tips to improve your blog’s popularity:
1) Write on topics that interest and motivate you. Your passion will
shine through in your writing.
2) Write frequently and thoughtfully, at least once daily.
3) Read and post comments on other relevant blogs to draw traffic to your blog.
Both the general public and trade professionals find blogs attractive and engaging because they supply a resource of unique content and opinions on subjects that old-fashioned media providers only cover randomly and hastily, or don’t address at all. One certain way to fail at blogging is to create a blog based solely on an archetypal “money-making” blog topic and to progress from that point. People respect blogs because they are personable and friendly, not deceitful and egoistical.
If you can offer a positive experience consistently to your readership, and you can put together a non-invasive revenue process that adds value to your content, you will join the many freelance bloggers who have found a way to earn money with their writing.