Join All Indie Writers

Can I Really Make Money From My Blog? – Reader Question

By 
on March 9, 2014 in Blog Monetization
6
1

Make Money Blogging

There are many reasons to start a blog. One popular reason is to make money. When you do that, you treat your blog as a business model in its own right.

Many people try to earn money from their blogs. Some succeed. Others fail. And much of that comes down to your strategy, your niche specialty, and the plan you come up with to monetize your blog.

I received a question from a reader who is considering setting up a blog as an alternative to writing for revenue share sites. He asked to remain anonymous, so for the purposes of this post we'll just call him Joe. Here is Joe's question:

The Background and the Idea

"I am a 69-year-old American living in the Philippines. I have sampled some of the revenue sites and didn't like them. I think most people do a lot of work on these sites and get paid little for their many hours or work writing articles and commenting on other people's articles. I read where one said she could make more money part time in a grocery store.

I believe with a blog I could replicate what those sites do on my own terms. I doubt I could ever get as much traffic as these sites. I do know I could write my articles as well or better on my own blog, say, with a domain like myarticles.com or something like that with the word articles in it.


Advertisement

Were I to write articles on many different topics instead of a niche blog, would I have a chance to make $200-500 or more per month, or is my idea flawed?"

The Short Answer

First, let's just touch on the basics:

  • Can it be done? Absolutely.
  • Should it be done with a multi-niche blog? I would recommend against it.
  • Multi-niche blogs can get too scattered if you're starting from scratch and if the niches aren't related. Large sites can seemingly cover everything because they have hundreds, if not thousands, of people creating new content for them.
  • Your best bet is to choose one niche to start with -- something that won't lose your interest, and something you can monetize effectively.

The Domain Name

You absolutely do not have to include the word "articles" in the domain name for your new blog.

I would actually argue that it could hurt you. It makes the site seem more generic whereas successful blogs tend to focus on building a brand. Google also supposedly doesn't give exact match domains as much weight anymore just because of the keywords in the domain names.

I would suggest going with a niche-specific brandable domain name. You want a brand that will last, regardless of what Google's views are on keyword-rich domains in the next several months to years.

Blog Income Realities

It's important to understand that many bloggers who set out to make money with their blogs never do (or they earn very little). Blog income doesn't happen overnight. You have to build a readership. Pretty much any blog revenue stream revolves around readers -- eyes on ads, people to buy products, readers to convert into paying members, etc.

The $200 - 500 per month you'd like to earn is a modest goal, and that goes in your favor. It doesn't sound like you expect to get rich doing this. That said, even earning a modest (but reliable) amount from a blog can take time and a lot of hard work.

Choosing a Niche

Where you need to start is choosing a niche to blog about. This can be a topic you can cover with professional expertise, it could be a hobby, or it could even be something you want to learn about while you blog. They key is to focus on something. That focus is what allows you to earn more money from your blog.

Why?

  • When you focus on a niche audience, you can spend more time identifying their needs and problems. That means you can monetize the blog through e-book or product sales that solve those problems. There's little point in creating something to sell if 90+ percent of your readers don't care about it.
  • It's impossible for a single blogger to effectively market a blog to everyone. When you narrow down your niche, you can also narrow down the scope of your marketing plan.

None of this is to say that you can't write about more than one thing. But keep those things related, and make sure your posts will appeal to similar audiences. Don't waste time marketing to completely different audiences until you've figured out how to monetize your first.

Monetizing the Blog

In the end, what Joe wants to do is very achievable. But it won't happen overnight.

It starts with choosing a niche to specialize in. Then worry about the branding by choosing your domain name, creating a logo, and choosing your blog design. Focus on creating high quality content that solves your readers' problems or answers their questions. Then figure out how to get that information in front of them (blog commenting, social networking, guest posts, advertising, etc.).

After you've done all that, you monetize the blog. You can include ads from the start. Just don't expect them to earn much, if anything, until you have a significant audience. That takes time. But remember, ads aren't your only option. If you'd like to explore other blog revenue streams, you can start by reading my post on the topic, Make Money Blogging: 20 Blog Revenue Streams.

You have to decide if you really have the time to put the work in. Blogging isn't a path to easy money. It involves a lot of audience research, a lot of writing and editing, a lot of networking, and a lot of marketing.


Advertisement

If you decide it's not the right option for you after all, freelance blogging might be a good middle ground. You get paid outright for your content, so you don't risk waiting months to years to reach blogging income goals. That isn't an easy path either, but it might be a more direct option for reaching your goals.

Now I'll leave it to the All Indie Writers community. Do you have any tips or suggestions for Joe? Do you have stories to share about starting and monetizing a blog? What would you do if you were in Joe's position?


Get answers to your writing questions. Register now to join the FREE All Indie Writers community for freelance writers, indie authors, and blogger.


Like this? Please share.
Tweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInBuffer this pageShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponEmail to someone
Short URL: http://3bm.co/1dGihtZ
The following two tabs change content below.

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.


key to writing success
Your key to a more successful writing career:
Join the FREE All Indie Writers community. Register today for access to the writing forums, and be one of the first to gain access to new e-courses, coming soon!

The 30 Day Marketing Boot Camp for Freelance Writers

6 Comments

  1. Katherine James March 10, 2014 Reply

    “Do you have stories to share about starting and monetizing a blog?”

    When I started my blog, I trudged up a steep learning curve when it came to the tech side of things.

    Coming up with blog content is straight forward for me, (we are writers after all), but I have had to do a trouble-shooting when it comes to maintaining the coding side of things.

    I now know more about computers and web design than I had ever planned on learning in my life time… :o !
    Katherine James recently posted…4 Design Websites Offering Technical Freelance Writing JobsMy Profile

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern March 10, 2014 Reply

      Well yay for learning, right? :) I love learning new things in general, but blogging has taught me so much over the last decade — largely from all of the mistakes I’ve made along the way. ;)

  2. Alicia Rades March 10, 2014 Reply

    I think there’s a huge misconception about “making money blogging.” Truth is, you make money by creating a business, and blogging is simply a marketing tool.

    Not only that, but everything thinks you can make heaps of cash by adding affiliate links and using AdSense. That works great for bigger blog, but from what I’ve seen, you really need more than that.

    Like you mentioned, you can sell eBooks, courses, services, etc. Once you realize this, it puts it in perspective a little more. Now that you know what’s going to make the money, are you willing to put the extra time and effort into writing that eBook or designing the eCourse? Do you even have a service you can sell within the niche you’re choosing?

    I think it’s better to start with the idea that you want to start a business, and then you can decide what type of niche blog will best promote that business and attract the type of people who want your products/services.

    I hope this makes sense.
    Alicia Rades recently posted…Remedies for a Blogging Crisis: What To Do When You Don’t Have Time to Update Your BlogMy Profile

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern March 10, 2014 Reply

      It’s absolutely a business, and bloggers need to go in expecting to treat it like one if their goal is to make money. But be careful about dismissing revenue streams. What works largely comes down to your niche. Every niche can be monetized. But every niche has its own best tools and strategies for doing that.

      For example, while e-books have done well for me over the years on my writing blogs, my small business blog has always earned well from ad revenue (Adsense, affiliate ads, and private ad sales), even when it was just a wee baby blog. ;) It was earning the equivalent of a low full-time income after just three months. I’ve since let that site nearly rot because I’ve put most of my time and attention towards this one. But even without the private ad sales or much fresh content, it still brings in enough every month that I could use that money alone to support all of my other sites (the server, the domains — of which I have many, plenty of premium tools, and contractors when I used to hire developers, designers, and ongoing contributors to some of the sites on a regular basis).

      So don’t assume ads won’t work. But get a feel for how they might do in your niche (the Adwords Keyword Planner can be a big help).

      While it won’t happen immediately, I wonder if it would be a good idea to run a “make money blogging” challenge to document on this blog. It’s something I haven’t done in years, and even then I believe I stopped before I finished the three-month plan (still have that blog, but I don’t do much with it). I’ll have to see what domain names I have sitting unused in a new niche, so it wouldn’t benefit too directly from my other sites. It might be a fun way to show what can happen — what works, what doesn’t, etc. Even if plans don’t work out, it’s a lesson to be learned. They don’t always! If that’s something you think would be helpful, let me know. I have plenty of planned sites waiting in various stages of development anyway. :)

  3. Enstine Muki March 18, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jennifer,
    I think your approach to Joe’s query is spot on.

    I have been blogging since 2012 (not long from now though) and I blog in the make money niche. Mind you, this niche is tough ;)

    Since starting in August 2012, I generated over $7000 in my first year. That was commendable for a starter but (in any niche) the money takes its time. It’s about building a community first and establishing a solid presence.

    $200-500 is modest and achievable but I think it all relies on your ability to produce content. Yes! Blogging is about content. People get paid today to produce content in almost every niche and no one is ready to buy mediocrity.

    Ads to me is not a good idea for a new blog. Sometimes, it looks frustrating and discouraging. If Joe has some good writing skills, for a start, he can do well getting paid to write. I just discovered this blog today and I think it has hot writing jobs he can start from.

    Bottom line, Joe should start with setting his blog and not expect any quick money from it. However, he will be making money if he keeps to the blogging game rules.
    Enstine Muki recently posted…Completely NEW way to monetize blog posts – Never seen elsewhereMy Profile

    • Author
      Jennifer Mattern March 18, 2014 Reply

      Oh, I’m aware how tough it can be. I’ve worked in that niche, and still do in some ways. You have to be patient and stubborn as all heck to tough it out. ;)

      You’re right. Ads are not a great place for a new blogger to start, at least until they get traffic rolling in. Without traffic, ads are pretty pointless. But a few won’t hurt the blog’s reputation early on. You just have to be selective. I’d avoid ad networks during the early phase and instead focus on affiliate ads that you can promote more directly — you want something where you’re paid for conversions rather than eyeballs or clicks. Even if you only reach 50 readers, you can still convert a few into buyers and earn affiliate revenue. Just don’t litter the site with affiliate ads.

      That said, if you’re going to manually promote those kinds of offers, you would do even better to promote your own products. If I were starting over right now as a fresh-faced blogger with no audience or network to help launch new sites, I would make sure I had a product ready to sell immediately and let the blog kick off by supporting that and building your authority status.

      Nice to meet you by the way. It’s always nice to see new faces. I hope you’ll poke around the community! :)

Add comment

By using this comment form you agree to the site's Comment Policies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current ye@r *

CommentLuv badge