“Making it” as a writer has changed in meaning over the years. While many aspiring scribes diligently turn out manuscripts that they send to publishing houses, where specially employed readers skim the unending piles hoping to find a new Harry Potter/Twilight/50 Shades of Grey, most working writers now operate in an exclusively online forum. There is plenty of work for skilled writers to be found online, since a virtually infinite number of guest blogs and online articles need to be (ghost) written. While a good writer can earn a living wage in this manner, it doesn’t usually result in the writer making a name for him or herself. As such, many writers create their own blog, an online collection of their own writing, which can be injected with their own personality and branded with their name. While writing a blog can be fun, it’s not necessarily a route to profit, which is why many blog owners seek to monetize their blog – to make it something for fun as well as profit. So how exactly do you turn your online scribbles into a stream of income?
1. Low Scale Advertising
Like conventional newspapers and magazines, making money can be as simple as selling advertising space. Depending on the scale of your ambitions, this can be as simple as contacting parties you think might be interested, and this is easily achievable if your blog and potential advertisers serve the local community, meaning these potential advertisers are less likely to be part of affiliate programs.
2. Affiliate Programs
An affiliate program is suitable for raising revenue on a larger scale, and it essentially works by submitting a membership request to an affiliate program, who will then, depending on your sites suitability, approve you and allow you to contact companies from their list about the possibility of advertising on your site. This process is largely automated, and you are then supplied with the HTML code that allows you to install the advertisement in question.
3. You’re an Expert!
It can depend on the nature of your site, but if your site has enough unique views to monetize, then you’ve arguably established yourself as an expert in your field, and as such, the information you provide can be of value. Consider collating information available on your blog along with a few “special extras” and offering it as an e-book for a nominal fee. You might not make a lot of money, but it can offer a steady stream of income.
Following on from your position as an expert in your field, you can also offer yourself as a consultant in the field covered by your blog, or offering your services as a guest blogger on a blog that complements your own – not one of your direct competitors, but something in a similar field.
If your information is of sufficient value to a consumer, you might want to undertake additional writing to create a subscription service for a paid newsletter. This isn’t the same as an e-book, but a well-crafted newsletter for a small subscription fee is a way to provide ongoing revenue, and as cynical as it sounds, many subscribers might forget that they’re paying you a few dollars each week or month.
You may even be able to use your blog as a way to direct e-commerce, and establish an online store selling products and services mentioned in your blog. You could have set up a cooking blog, and you might be able to liaise with suppliers and begin to offer the ingredients and culinary tools you’ve been writing about.
7. Guests and Partners
If your blog has sufficient readership, it becomes valuable from a marketing perspective, and you can present paid guest posts – blog entries that are essentially advertising, for which you receive a fee. If you don’t feel comfortable about presenting advertisements as articles, then you can clearly differentiate these as “partner” posts, much in the way that the popular Buzzfeed does.
8. Members Only
As your blog grows, you can move to a user pay system, where you have the free basic level, as well as a membership portion of your site that offers exclusive content. Remember that you’re going to have to do a lot of extra writing and sourcing of additional content, particularly if you also opt for e-books and subscription services.
9. Writing- The Old Fashioned Way
While it’s not the norm, some blogs can make their way to the bookstore. Popular blogs have been collated into book form, such as the writings of Julie Powell, whose blog detailing her attempts to cook the recipes of famed chef Julia Childs sparked the interest of publishers and resulted in a book deal, and even a film adaptation that starred Meryl Streep.
10. And Finally
If your blog is poorly written and infrequently updated, it will be difficult to monetize it, since few people other than you will think its worth something. Ensure that your content is fresh, original and well constructed, and updated like clockwork. A blog can be a casual thing, but if you’re planning to use it as part of your business interests, then professionalism is key!
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