Can Blogging Really Help You Make Money?

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

You’ve probably seen advertisements about how people work from home and make thousands of dollars each month just by blogging. They often try to sell you a book regarding the “secrets” learned to make that much. Unfortunately, not all of these products will be of real help. In reality, blogging does have potential to help you pay the bills. However, it takes a great deal of work to get it to that point. If you’re looking to supplement your income, you may want to keep your day job as you build an audience.

What Blogging Does For You

This generation relies too much on instant gratification. Everybody online seems to want “it” right now. Whether it’s something bought on a site or attracting visitors to blog, there is too much emphasis on needing it immediately. It’s this mindset that winds up causing so much frustration. Before you can delve into making money from your own website, you may want to understand the basis of blogging in the first place.

The Web Log
Originally, blogs were developed by those who wanted an online journal as a platform to share what they have learned. It has long since morphed into a form of commercialism that many businesses use today in order to drive traffic to their sites. However, there are a lot of people who simply use the blog as a form of self-expression. It’s a way to engage others and inspire conversation. It’s a method to meet new people and share ideas. If you go into the process for the sole purpose of making money, you may be in for quite a disappointment.

Why I Blog
I love to write, whether it’s sharing health facts I’ve learned or what I have discovered as a freelance writer. I want to share everything with anyone willing to read. If I can save someone from investing in the wrong “get-rich-quick” scheme or help someone lose a few pounds, then my work is complete. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to blog about my experiences all day long while pulling in enough money to pay the bills. Unfortunately, that is unrealistic at this point.

What Is Needed to Make Money From Blogging

There is a great deal of effort involved if you want to make money while blogging. The Internet is full of search engine optimization practices, marketing ideas and tools you can pay for that may help you drive traffic. However, it’s the way you engage your audience that will make the greatest impact.

Your Content
It’s easy to regurgitate facts you found elsewhere in order to score better in Google for search results. Keep in mind that many of those sites you’re pulling facts from are direct competition to your own site. Because they have such a head start, you may never be able to catch up without dumping a lot of money into SEO and content creation. I’m not saying this practice is wrong by any means. However, you should rely more on what it is you have to say. People will follow your blog because you make sense to them. It’s your wording, mannerism and behavior that will make or break your blog.

Ad Revenues
Don’t expect applications like Google Adsense to give you a ton of money each month because of ad placements. This is highly subjective to the industry and niche of your content. While there may be quite a few people that have made a decent amount of money from ad revenues, it shouldn’t be your primary focus. In the last six months of operating my fitness blog, I’ve only accumulated just under $2. Part of that is because it’s relatively new. It could take you longer or shorter to make more money than I. My point is that you shouldn’t assume financial success from ad revenues while blogging.

Affiliate Programs
Affiliate programs are a nice addition to any website. Essentially, you can get a cut of the sales when someone visiting your blog goes to a sponsored business and buys something. However, there are several key aspects you need to consider before the dollar signs start jumping around in your eyes:

  1. These programs are best used on niche-related sites.
  2. These programs require a higher quality of visitor who is interested in making a purchase.
  3. It could be months, or even years, before you see a dime.

I’ve made a bit of money from affiliate programs on other websites I’ve maintained over the years. Unfortunately, I haven’t made anything off of the fitness blog since I’ve started it. It takes more than just slapping up a few banners and crossing your fingers. You need to find affiliate programs that are related to what you’re blogging about if you want to increase your chances of making some money. For example, the tablet website I had back in the day made a bit of money because I centered the content purely around mobile devices. My fitness site hosts exercise equipment and health supplies. This is only the tip of a very large, and time-consuming, iceberg.

Constantly Development
One thing I’ve seen a lot of developers fail at is keeping up with the blog. You can’t write a few brilliant posts and expect an influx of traffic. Speaking from personal and professional experience, it takes constant development if you want any resemblance of consistent traffic on your site. As SEO professionals attest – content is king. Since I’ve been putting more effort into my fitness blog, my traffic tripled over the span of three months. You need to have constant vigilance – especially if you want to inspire others to follow your posts.

I’ve found that marketing a blog is a bit more difficult than if you were to operate an eCommerce site. For instance, pay-per-click campaigns for a basic blog only serves to cost you money. Using PPC for eCommerce at least has potential to end in a sale. Marketing the blog is much different. In reality, you’re trying to attract an audience based purely on you and your content. As such, you need to change your mindset on where to go and how to promote yourself.

Since I usually don’t have a lot of time throughout the day, I center a lot of marketing on social media. It takes less than a minute with the tools I use in order to share new posts with the world. Essentially, both of my main blogs are set to automatically post new content on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Writer Sanctuary also feeds into my LinkedIn account. So far, I’ve seen a bit of success. What I like most is when someone interacts with me regarding something I’ve created.

Keeping the Right Frame of Mind

My wife and I have discovered that blogging shouldn’t be viewed as a way to make money. Consider it more of icing on the proverbial cake. As soon as I started writing for the sheer pleasure of doing so, both of my blogs have seen greater success. Now, blogging is more of a pastime that I enjoy. If I make a few bucks on the side, then that’s good too. Once you start stressing that you don’t have traffic or that it’s not making you any money, then you start setting yourself up for failure. It’ll no longer be fun and seem more like a chore than anything.

Don’t get me wrong, blogging has great potential for supplementing your income. It may just take a long time before you reach that kind of success. Write because you have something to share or because you want to help someone. Let everything else come as it may.

Michael Brockbank
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