Have you dreamed of making a living sitting at home on your computer, writing about what you are interested in and being able to support yourself without ever setting foot in an office? Think about the freedom: you can wake up late, tend to your garden, take the children to school and then sit down to write. Ah, bliss. This dream can become a reality, and it’s a lot easier than you may think.
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Choose a Topic
If you create a blog and you use it as a journal, people aren’t going to want to read it unless you’re the most interesting person in the world. Instead of blogging about your own mundane everyday activities, choose a subject that you are knowledgeable about and know that you can constantly write about. Maybe you have a lot of knowledge on video games, or gardening, or DIY, or traveling… the possibilities are endless. Choosing a niche topic will attract more people – but it’s important to take into account other niche blogs. Let’s say you want to create a vegetarian recipe blog…awesome! But do you know how many other vegetarian recipe blogs there are out there? Quite a lot. This means that you’ll have a bit of competition when it comes to readers. If you can write well, take good photographs and keep readers interested, you won’t have a problem succeeding. Now let’s consider a more obscure niche. Let’s say you are especially interested in creating models of horses. Maybe yours is the only blog out there related to this topic. That gives you a leg up, right? Unfortunately, there probably aren’t as many people looking for blogs about model horses as there are people looking for vegetarian recipes. When choosing a topic, it’s important to choose one that will attract the most readers, even if you have some competition.
Get Your Own Domain Name
If you want people to take you seriously, you’ll need to take yourself seriously. While this does require a bit of an investment in the beginning, it’ll pay itself off in the long run if you stick with it. Many people specializing in a particular niche create a website name that reflects that niche. While you can use your own name, it may confuse people who are wondering what exactly your site is about. If I’m looking for a good recipe website, I’d much sooner click on VegHead.com than livejournal.com/veggies or johnsmith.com. Wouldn’t you? There are a handful of blogging platforms that allow you to use your own domain name while still working off of their easy-to-use website.
How will anyone know your blog exists if you don’t market it? Post the link on all of your social networking sites, and get your friends and family to do the same. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get readers to your blog, and since much of the world is connected via the internet, you can get readers from all over the globe.
If people are interested in reading your blog, they may also be interested in purchasing an eBook written by you! Depending on the type of blog you have, eBooks are especially effective if they include clever illustrations or beautiful photographs. Everyone loves aesthetically pleasing things, so if you have a cutesy type blog you should reflect that in whatever ebook you decide to offer. If you have a blog about business marketing, however, cutesy illustrations are not recommended. It’s all about your audience! If they’re attracted to your blog for a reason, attract them to your eBooks for the same reason.
We all know ads aren’t the most desirable aspects of a blog, but sometimes it’s necessary to bring in a couple extra dollars a month. Google’s AdSense is an extremely popular choice among bloggers, and ads for even the most obscure niches are possible. Know where to place your ads; this may take a little bit of experimentation, but you want to place your ads where viewers will see them but won’t find them overbearing. To avoid being overbearing, you shouldn’t have huge, colorful ads that distract from the content of your site. That being said, they shouldn’t be so small and insignificant that people don’t see them either. It’s all about finding a good middle ground.
Know Your SEO!
So you have readers that come to your site because of word of mouth, or because they saw a link you posted on your social network. That’s great! But you can get a lot of other readers just through search engine optimization. Think about what you search on Google in order to find websites – then use those keywords in your own writing. Do a little bit of research to figure out exactly what people are searching relating to the topic of your blog, and then help them out a little bit! You’ll bring more people to your blog, and in turn make more money.
Are you a master of your craft? Offer readers an opportunity to have one-on-one or group interaction with you in order to pick your brain and gain your knowledge. I’ve seen a lot of long-term freelance writers offering courses via their blog to people who are aspiring to be a freelance writer but don’t know where to begin. They also offer Skype chats and other forms of interaction for a small fee. If you have knowledge other people want, you’ll find people who are willing to pay for it in a variety of forms.
Once you have a following, you can make even more money through affiliate marketing. If you have a blog about juicing, you can talk about a particular juicer and embed a link that readers can click on to purchase it. If a reader clicks the link and purchases the product, you can get a percentage of the profits! It’s important to look around at various sites that allow affiliate marketing. Amazon is a very popular one, but it’s not the only one out there. Do some research before deciding to rely on affiliate marketing though, because some only allow blogs that already have a high traffic volume.
Again, this happens after you have an initial following. You can offer a ‘blog membership’ at a set monthly or yearly fee to readers who want a part in exclusive blog content only available to members. People love to feel as if they are part of an exclusive group, and this is a wonderful way to gain a bit of extra cash while giving readers what they want.
This is probably one of the most important things to know when trying to make money from a blog. You can’t write a few posts, place a couple of ads and expect money to start pouring in. You need to give yourself time to build followers, gain content and market yourself. If you’re just starting a blog, don’t quit your day job just yet. There’s a lot to learn before you can make your blog your full-time job, but don’t let that dissuade you from starting. An important thing to remember is that creating a successful blog takes a lot of time – and I don’t mean just time waiting for it to take off. I mean time researching keywords, strategically placing ads, marketing yourself through social networks and creating unique, engaging content that people will want to read. The more you practice, the better you’ll get; just don’t let yourself lose hope if your blog isn’t as successful as you’d like it to be in the first few months.
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