Most people with an aspiration to become wealthy bloggers get quickly discouraged at the low audience turnout on their site and the low returns in profits. The biggest reason for this lack of success is not their lack of passion for their material: many new bloggers are brimming with passion for their field of interest and want to share their love of film or cooking or books with a broad audience.
The problem is that despite what the internet has told them, passion is not a monetizable model for a blog (at least, not the kind of money they hope to make full-time). The first thing we have to discuss on the road to creating a profitable blogging model is how internet articles have shaped the landscape of blogging into a field full of myths and misconceptions about how to earn money doing it.
We’ll go over the myths surrounding modern blogging, the conventional methods of making money on a blogging platform (which still work, to a point), and also an actionable plan on how to make real money doing this for a living.
The short answer is that you have to stop thinking of blogging as a hobby that massages your passions. To make real money at it, you have to think of yourself as a company executive and your blog as a fledgling startup company. You have to follow actionable principles tested to form a network, acquire an audience, and turn that audience into a real revenue stream.
How do you do that, exactly? That’s what we’re going to find out.
Most advice about making money on blogs recycles the same principles, which sound something along the lines of: know your audience, write about something you love, don’t give up. The truth, however, is that creating a profitable paradigm for your blog doesn’t depend on these things. These are the myths about the blogging landscape that you have to get over to start making real money.
Write about your passions?
The fact is that writing about something you love is probably not the most monetizable goal for your blog. Having a passion for an unprofitable interest can make blogging a ton of fun. It can even net you a modest audience visiting your site. It will not become a full-time position.
The issue with writing purely from passion is that you’re not thinking about your audience’s potential in terms of profits when choosing the topic: you’re only thinking about what you love. This thinking is backward from the way you have to think if you want your blog to make real revenue, which has to start with mapping out an appropriate audience, writing to their needs, and networking within your niche to make that audience pay you. The specifics of this are discussed below.
You can’t get rich quick
This is a two-way myth. Most advice online about blogging tells you that you shouldn’t expect to get rich quickly. This is true in the sense that your blog’s revenue stream should have a steady, mappable acceleration of returns over time that won’t net you a full-time salary overnight. No matter how you approach a new blog, you have to be patient.
However, many content creators writing about their passions use this as an excuse to justify the fact that their blog has been running for months or years with no growth in profit returns and no real model for revenue.
If your blog isn’t following a predictable schedule of growth, your model isn’t designed well enough for profits. Since this is the ultimate goal of your blog, the myth that you “can’t get rich quick” may be slowing you down.
Your blog is for people
The last big myth is the concept that your audience should be composed of individual people who have a passion for the same things that you do. While this can net you a conventional passive revenue stream (see below), it is not the secret to money making success on your blog. In fact, it’s contrary to it.
The reason is that individual people have limited power to contribute to your blog’s revenue and will most likely not improve your traffic with additional networking. A successful blog model has to refocus on interactions with larger parties like companies that are part of a niche network of information exchange.
Using the advice below, under “Blogging for Business,” you can shift your profit model to overcome this myth. As nice as it is to blog for personal interests (and the interests of others), it will likely never make you the money you hope for.
If it does, it will take a very long time.
Conventional ways to make money blogging
These myths support the conventional methods of turning a personal blog into a revenue stream. These methods are still valid and form a foundation for some passive revenue. They are also over-emphasized around the internet as the primary way to make money blogging.
In reality, these methods will likely only provide very modest income compared to those discussed later. It’s still important to know them, however, so that you can get a feel for the blogging landscape as a whole and incorporate these tactics into your blog as much (or as little) as you think is worth it.
This is the first thing any normal blog about blogging will tell you in terms of how to monetize your content. Affiliate marketing means that you give your visitors the chance to buy someone else’s products. You include a unique link on your website to a product relevant to your post which tracks you as the source of clicks to that link.
When customers buy that product from your site, you get a small commission from the sale. Amazon Associates is the most common and reliable affiliate marketer and for blogs with a lot of traffic, it can help you generate modest revenue.
However, if you’re reading this article, then chances are good that getting a larger audience is part of your problem. It’s unlikely that this method of monetization alone will be profitable for you for a long time (trust me: I’ve tried it).
Another common revenue stream on a blog involves selling ad space on your pages. You can contact advertisers and offer buttons or banners to their products and charge the advertiser a monthly fee to display themselves on your site. You can expand this strategy to sell ads in your email newsletters to streamline your marketing and profit strategies.
Again, this is only useful if you have a reliable, steady stream of traffic. Even then, ad space is never going to generate full-time revenue for you, as it can on something like YouTube. The fact is that this profit method is too slow and too passive to make much of a difference.
If the common methods of making money with a blog are limited are best, what do you have to do to really get your revenue working?
Blogging for Business: taking moneymaking to the next level
The real model to capitalize on a full-time revenue stream on your blog is not based on passionate topics, individual visitors, affiliate links, or ad space. The real secret is in how you approach your blog as a platform to begin with.
The secret is that you need to think of it as a startup company rather than as an art portfolio or newsletter.
To do this, you need to utilize principles of business interaction rather than blog interaction to maximize your profitability. This means focusing on forming digital relationships, knowing the value of guest posting, and using email marketing and link-building to your advantage.
1. Form digital relationships
You have to choose a niche that needs you – that’s the first thing. When you look at the biggest blogs in a niche field, you need to wonder how you can form a relationship with them. In a business sense, this means asking what they will believe that you could bring to their table.
This could be anything from your expertise in a field to your ability to speak on a topic that their blog is lacking.
To target a large blog as a potential source of revenue for you (as a company would seek a big firm to become their client), you have to decide what you can give them and then begin your outreach routine so that you can acquire them as part of your network.
This means finding potential sites and going from their website to their Linked In account to their email address to your targeted marketing campaign. Send an email to them by prioritizing your relationship with them based on something that you can offer.
This is where you pitch the guest post.
2. The importance of guest posting
One of the only things you need to make clear in your pitch is that you are willing to form a link-building relationship through guest posting, which you also allow on your site. If you have samples to show them, do so.
Other than that, your message shouldn’t be too long. You don’t want them to dismiss it as spam without reading it.
If it works, the other blog will return your request saying that they want your guest post on your site. This is when that research you did into what their site needs versus what you can provide comes in handy. The pitch for your post has to fit those criteria.
This means that it needs to be something that their site could use but doesn’t have yet, has clear keyword value targeted to the SEO needs of their site, and is something that you can write about confidently and which their audience wants to read.
3. Turning posts into revenue
Building these SEO-dominant link-building posts on targeted blogs turns their audience into your revenue stream. This is how you get hundreds of thousands of visitors to your site, reading your content, clicking on your affiliates, and doing all of the things that only work when you have a ton of traffic.
Repeating this targeted marketing campaign gets easier as you have more samples to show them and more expertise in writing posts guided to a company’s needs. The cycle of turning marketing into guest posts and traffic for your site should start sustaining itself within months.
If it doesn’t, then you need to refine your marketing or writing technique. Email-marketing tools are out there (like ConvertKit) to help you better sort and utilize this strategy to its maximum profit potential.
The biggest mistake that new bloggers make is taking modern blogging mythology as fact. Concepts like blogging for your passions and building an audience passively (and very slowly) are fine if blogging is just your hobby and you have another job.
To turn blogging into substantial supplementary (or even primary) income, you have to have more of a plan than that. Conventional money making strategies like affiliate linking and ad revenue are valid but only with a ton of traffic. Acquiring that traffic should be your goal and you can only do that with a shift in your understanding of what blogging should be.
Rather than treat it as a hobby, use these strategies to treat it like a business. If you owned a startup company, you wouldn’t expect to make a ton of money by putting fliers on park benches hoping that someone who shares your interests walks by and sees them.
Instead, you would call them in a guided marketing campaign after acquiring their contact information. You would approach them in the hope that they specifically will become one of your valuable clients.
In a business, you would approach your revenue as dependent on these relationships, and that’s what you should do with your blog as well. Sorting contact information by viability, assessing your skills, and conducting guided email marketing campaigns to acquire guest posts on the sites of high-value clients is how you can start using your blog to generate real money.
You may not get rich quick, but you should be getting richer gradually. If the model isn’t working, it’s not because you don’t have enough passion or haven’t waited long enough or your audience “just isn’t biting.” It’s because you’re not going after the right fish with the right bait. Use this guide to get started doing just that.