Want to make money blogging? You can. Around the world, hundreds of thousands of bloggers do it. That said, there are pitfalls.
Back when I started blogging, in the late 1990s (long, long ago, in internet terms) “blogging” was considered nerdy and weird by anyone who’d heard of it. Few had: dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster made “blog” their term of the year in 2004.
Then blogging became mainstream. Around 2012, everybody and his dog (I kid you not) decided to make money blogging.
Most bloggers started monetizing their blog using Google AdSense. Why not? Just paste snippets of Google code onto your blog. Hey presto—you can write, and get paid, without a care in the world. Many bloggers still do that today, with varying amounts of success.
That’s because today, things are a little different than they were in 2004: there’s too much content chasing too few advertising dollars. It’s a challenge to read online in any comfort—you can’t find the content. It’s buried under endless flashing and loud (literally) advertising.
Which begs the question: can you still make money blogging? You can, if you avoid the pitfalls.
Let’s look at the biggest pitfall.
Make money blogging: the biggest pitfall
The biggest pitfall is, paradoxically: blog traffic.
If you want to make money blogging, you need more than traffic. You need an audience. Moreover, that audience must ACT.
Their actions could be:
- Willingness to click on an ad (if you’re monetizing your blog via advertising);
- Readiness to spend money—to buy an affiliate product you promote, for example (if you’re an affiliate of a popular product, company or service);
- Eagerness to buy your products: books, courses etc. (if you create your own products);
- Hiring you (if you’re offering services)
- Visibility: for you, or for something you’re promoting… More on “visibility blogging” in a moment.
In summary: “traffic” is useless if your traffic doesn’t help you to achieve your goals.
If you’ve ever said, or thought: I need more traffic, you don’t. You need results.
The three simple steps to get paid for blogging
Assuming that you’d simply like to write and get paid for blogging, answer three questions:
- What’s your enthusiasm?
- Who shares your enthusiasm?
- What can you create and/ or promote to your fellow enthusiasts which repays the time and effort you spent blogging?
You must be enthusiastic about something, and that something must have a way for you to get paid. The good news: today you can find fellow enthusiasts for your interests, no matter how niche those interests might be.
Now let’s look at visibility. As with traffic, “visibility” can be a pitfall.
Visibility: build your platform to make money blogging?
The “visibility” pitfall is another version of the traffic pitfall. For a writer, especially an author, a platform (readership) is a very good thing. BUT! If you want a readership, you need something for them to read.
Remember Julie & Julia, the blog which became a book and a movie? Julie Powell used a blog to build her platform. She developed her readership one recipe and one day at a time. Her original blog has vanished from the online world, but it was immensely readable.
Many authors “blog their book” in the process of writing it. Some, like author Kate Mosse, go on to write bestsellers. Kate’s original Labyrinth blog has vanished too.
The big benefit of blogging while writing is that you get feedback. In the late 1980s, Diana Gabaldon “blogged” Outlander on the old CompuServe Books and Writers forum.
Make money blogging: start with enthusiasm
Please remember the three simple steps we discussed above. If you want to build your platform and make money blogging, start with enthusiasm, as many bloggers have, and as Julie Powell, Kate Mosse and Diana Gabaldon did.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.