Who wouldn’t like to blog for a living?
Imagine sitting at your desk in the morning, typing away and making a great living while everyone else is fighting traffic or their boss.
Can you really make money typing about your favorite topic and putting it out there for the world to see?
As all Medium writers know, the short answer is, yes, you can.
The success rate for a full-time income isn’t great if you’re not familiar with the business of blogging, but with a good game plan, bringing in another income from blogging is well within your reach.
Choosing Your Subject Matter
You have two basic options:
(1) You can write about what interests you, or
(2) You can write about something that you know is popular and profitable.
It’s certainly a lot easier and more enjoyable to write about something you’re passionate about, but, depending on your passions, there might not be a lot of outside interest or money in it.
The ideal scenario is to find a topic that fits both categories.
A good plan is to write a list of everything you have an interest in. If you have particular knowledge or skills in an area that others with your interest don’t always have, all the better.
Reflect on your topics and do some research. Are there plenty of folks who would be interested in your topic? Do they spend money on products in that field? Can you bring value — something unique — to this audience?
If you can answer “Yes” to the questions above with reference to one of your favorite topics, then you might just have a winner on your hands.
Strengthen Your Writing, if Needed
You don’t need to be capable of writing the next “Great Gatsby”, but it’s important to be interesting, and
no amount of marketing will make up for poor writing.
In the past, you could get away with poor content, but Google is getting smarter all the time, and there’s simply too much competition to be successful with anything less than decent writing.
Don’t be afraid to take a writing course if you think that could help you.
Select a Domain, Hosting, and a Blogging Platform
You can purchase a domain name from GoDaddy or other popular registrars for just a small amount per year. You’ll also need to find a place to host your website, which you can do for usually less than a few dollars per month. Search popular marketing forums for recommendations of some excellent hosting plans.
Always buy your domain from a regular domain registrar, separate from the company you use for your hosting. This way, you’re free to change hosting at any time by just pointing your domain to your new hosting company. It just makes life easier if you change your mind or decide to try a new place.
In terms of a blogging platform, most of us are familiar with WordPress.org. It’s so well-supported, with so many excellent free and premium themes and plugins, that it’s hard to recommend anything else. WordPress is easy to use and with a little work, you can really make it look great.
There are a lot of forums dedicated to using WordPress and you can always get the help you need in getting started and maintaining your WordPress blog.
While we’re on the topic of blogging platforms, you don’t need anyone to tell you,
that the best blogging platform in the history of blogging, is Medium.
Monetize Your Blog
Don’t be afraid about setting up your site in a way that optimizes your opportunities to get paid.
Some ideas to consider for monetizing your blog?
- Create your own information product. Could you make a video, eBook, or audio to sell to your readers? Digital information products can be very easy to make and have a high-profit margin. All the tools you need are available online for free.
- Offer services or consulting. Offer your readers the chance to work with you one-on-one to get your advice or your service.
- Build a list. Get an account with a popular autoresponder service so you can enable your interested readers to opt-in to your newsletter. The autoresponder service provides the software for them to opt-in and for you to contact them by email on a regular basis. This way, you can build more rapport with your readers and make more money.
- Sell other related products. In every topic you can imagine, there are products related to yours that you can sell for a commission. Find some of these related products online and look for their details on becoming an affiliate. For these products, you can post ads on your website, write about them in your blog posts, or talk about them in your newsletter. But make sure you can vouch for the credibility of these products.
- Sell ad space on your website. Product owners in your field are always looking for more places to market their products. Offer space on your website for their ads and charge a monthly fee. Or sign up for programs like Google Adsense and let their ads appear on your site. You could get paid by advertisers simply by bringing visitors to your site.
- Sell your website and start another. Any site with a lot of traffic can be sold for a considerable amount of money. Once you’ve built it up, you can always sell it if that appeals to you.
Create a Posting Schedule
Consider your topic and competition. If other bloggers in your field post daily, then posting weekly will make it difficult for you to compete. Some topics lend themselves to more frequent posting than others.
One post a week is the absolute minimum; 3–5 times a week is better.
It’s more effective to publish your posts on a set schedule so your regular readers know when to expect your new posts.
Remember that you can pre-blog. Most of the popular blogging platforms will allow you to pre-load your posts, and then they’ll be published at the time and date that you’ve specified.
Having a set posting schedule will also keep you honest and current with your writing.
Stay on Target
Many bloggers quickly get off track and start blogging about their lives. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but — it’s very difficult to be successful writing about your life unless you have an incredibly interesting life or you’re an incredible writer. Your friends are sure to read it, but how many other people will have any interest?
This is a very tough way to get the thousands of followers you really want. If you want to veer off course now and then, wait until you have at least 1,000 followers, at least.
All that said, it’s important to start with what inspires you as you’re writing — “write for yourself, edit for others.” If it’s not fun, then it’s not good. Your first draft is always for yourself. Thereafter, you can edit and revise with the reader in mind.
Promote, Promote, Promote
You can have excellent content, but if no one can find you, it’s all for nothing.
Want to try some easy ideas to get you started with promoting your blog?
- Add your blog address to your email signature.
- Start a Facebook or other social media page about your blog.
- Post on related forums and include your blog address in your signature and profile.
- Pay for back linking services.
- Create additional lower quality blogs on your same subject and link back to your site on them. Don’t spend a lot of time on these. Even a couple of short posts a month can be sufficient to help you move up the search engine rankings.
- Create a press release and submit it online. It might sound weird to have a press release, but they can get you listed in Google news. You might even find that your press release ranks higher in the search engine results than your domain name.
- Submit your links to bookmarking sites. Go to sites like Digg, Reddit, and similar websites to help get your site noticed.
Learn everything you can. Spend time learning about marketing and search engine optimization and taking action on what you learn. These tactics will bring more readers to your blog.
How Many Blogs?
Until you’ve mastered your first blog and are making a nice profit from it, just stick to the one.
When you’re really confident about what you’re doing, you can move on to bringing in more streams of income with other blogs. Three is about the limit unless you’re really a glutton for punishment!
You’re much better off with two great blogs than ten sub-par ones. Quality is the name of the game. Try blogs on different subject matters. It will be good for your sanity and creativity if you don’t have to write about the same stuff all the time.
Some of the BEST Advice You’ll Ever Hear (From a Superstar Blogger)
“…I think it’s important to be realistic about what blogging is. So let’s start with a few misconceptions people have about blogs:
Most blogs don’t make any money. And if they do, it took them multiple years to get there. As a business plan, blogs suck. They take years and thousands of hours of work to ramp up to a level where you can monetize them. And in many cases the methods you use to monetize them kill your brand and tarnish your writing’s credibility, making them impossible to turn into money-makers.
I don’t know the real numbers but I would estimate that 99% of blogs out there have no significant readership, and of those blogs that have a significant readership, 99% of those make little or no money.
So now that I’ve dumped ice water all over your world-conquering blogging aspirations, let me just say, there are only two valid reasons to start a blog. Either a) you have some other business and blogging would be a nice way to help promote it. Or b) you just really, really, really enjoy blogging. Outside of those two reasons, there’s no legitimate reason to start one.
A lot of bloggers, even successful bloggers, are shitty writers. No offense, but most bloggers can’t write well. Most bloggers are successful not because of their writing but because they found a good niche market to insert themselves into. They’re successful because they’re solving a problem for people and are serving a practical purpose.
What I’m saying is, is that most bloggers are successful because they’re goodmarketers, not because they’re good writers. Take that however you want to.
With all of that said, I will tell you this. The better your writing is, the better your chances of blogging success are. Good writing never goes out of style. And truly great writing cannot be suppressed. A great article on a great topic written beautifully will be successful no matter where it is or who wrote it. Guaranteed.
…in the meantime, here is some other advice to keep in mind as you join the rest of us in fighting the great tyranny that is the blinking cursor:
Study branding and basic marketing. Even if you’re a fiction blogger. Even if you have no intention of ever making money off blogging. Even if you’re writing erotica about dwarves and elves. Understanding branding and the basics of marketing (finding a niche, differentiating yourself, unique selling points, etc.) will go further in helping you establish an audience than anything else you can do aside from better writing.
Writing first, design second. Download a nice-looking free WordPress theme and just run with it until you get a decent-sized audience. Then worry about making your site look beautiful later…As a blogger, you will live and die by the quality of your writing and the quality of your message. Design is just the cherry on top.” — MARK MANSON
Blogging your way to a second income is entirely feasible if you follow a plan.
Consider the type of content that’s likely to interest your readers and put out high-quality work. You can do this if you’re willing to put in the work and are patient.
Someday, you might be able to tell your boss that you’re quitting to be a full-time blogger.
In the meantime, enjoy the extra income!