There are many ways to make money on the internet, with writing blogs being one of the most common and enjoyable.
The word “blog” is the short form of the word “weblog,” which was coined by Jorn Barger in 1997. Barger was writing for Robot Wisdom, and came up with the word “weblog” as a way of “logging the web” as he performed internet searches. Peter Merholz, a programmer, shortened the term to “blog” in 1999.
In the beginning, a blog was nothing more than an electronic journal, or personal web log where the writer shared their information and opinions on topics they found interesting. They posted the information in reverse chronological order, so the newest information appeared first. Blogs today have evolved from their personal origins into webpages or websites that are updated regularly. They may be used by one person, but many have become part of a corporation’s online presence.
When blogs are written in support of a company’s operations, they will likely appeal to those who are already acquainted with the corporation and its products. However, it is possible for highly successful personal blogs to gain sponsors and advertisers, which will bring in revenue to the blogger.
Okay, so what is a blog post?
Briefly, a blog post is an entry the blogger makes to update their website. It may be a deep dive into a topic already mentioned, or new information. For instance, a retailer might have a website about electronics, and add a post about the “Best Laptops” for the current year. The post ties in with the overall topic, but discusses only one small aspect of the subject.
So how do I write good blog posts anyway?
Your first step is to figure out who you’re writing for. You cannot write for “everyone,” that simply does not work. Once you know your audience, it will be much easier to create content that will appeal to them.
You should also brainstorm your content frequently by conducting market research. To do that, look at other blogs in your niche and see what kind of traffic they are receiving. You should check to see how often people are searching for your keywords. If no one is looking for your subject, it’s time to change direction.
You’ll also want to do some research on the content management system (CMS), like Wix and WordPress, that will work best for you. Such a system is a tool that will help you design and publish your blog. If you still need to build a website to host your blog, choosing the right CMS is vital. The one that hosts your website does not necessarily have to be the same system you use to blog.
A strategy, which is the equivalent of a business plan, will be pivotal too. This will help you identify your target audience, your content, the schedule you use to post new material, and how you will promote the blog.
The keyword in blogging is writing. You need to know proper syntax, grammar, and punctuation, as well as structure. Remember, your readers are going to see your words on a screen, not on paper, and the layout is important. Break up your blog post with bullet points and subheadings so it’s not only easy to follow, but shows up clearly. Remember to include a call to action, such as “Click here to purchase at a new low price,” which will help you earn money.
You should also consider varying your writing style to keep the posts exciting, particularly as you will be uploading content frequently. You can emulate those who write non-fiction articles for traditional publications, and recycle older material. It’s not necessary for you to create brand new content every time. If your first post was about skiing in Switzerland, your next post could be on shopping in a nearby city, and you could follow that up with a post about trains in Europe.
You also need to learn how to market your blog. Use your email lists, your website, SEO (which we’ll come to shortly), and social media to draw readers to your work.
You should also take the time to analyze what your competitors are doing. What are they writing about, how many hits are they getting, and is their content fresh? Some sites have a counter that will tell you how many people visit the site.
And now, in a section all of its own, the dreaded . . .
Composing blog posts requires some basic knowledge of the mysterious field of SEO. Short for “search engine optimization,” SEO describes the measures needed to make a site visible to the search engines like Google or Bing. Ideally, a website should be on the first or second page of the search results, as people generally will not go any further. There are several elements to SEO that must be understood if a blogger is to be successful.
First, SEO helps maximize search results from organic searches. This refers to results that are returned naturally (often referred to as “organically”) based on the ranking algorithms used by the search engines, not because a sponsor has paid for the advertising. Anyone who performs a simple search will usually see sponsored websites in the first or second place, with non-paid results further down the page. People who are just starting their blogs may not have the funds to pay for advertising, so they need to pay attention to SEO.
Secondly, SEO attracts “high-quality” visitors to the site who can actually use the products and services displayed. If a search engine sends visitors to a site for “lotus” and the person expects to find Lotus software when in reality the site is for a florist, they will leave immediately. Using SEO makes it easy for the search engines to match the user’s intent to the appropriate site.
Finally, proper use of SEO is more likely to give a site a higher ranking and a place closer to the top of the page, which will increase traffic to the site.
Gee, that’s clear as mud!
Fear not! There are plenty of websites available that teach what SEO is, how it works, and how to use it. For now, just remember that you want your site to appear as high as possible in a search, and you can learn how to use SEO to boost your chances of making that happen.
Stop dithering and tell me about blogging for money, that’s why I’m here!
Okay, okay, so you’ve figured out some basic SEO stuff that will make you one of the first results that comes up when somebody puts your name or your company into the Bing, Google, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo search bar. Now what?
The first thing you should realize is that making money via your blog is an ongoing process. Unless you’re very lucky, you are unlikely to have someone swoop in and become a sponsor, or pay to advertise on your blog. You need to build a list of subscribers who will then refer you to others, and that is a long process. This is why great bloggers are passionate people who love their subject, and would write about it even without pay. However, it is possible to make money from blogging through:
Bloggers can make money by running ads that will reach people who are interested in the materials you are discussing in your posts. For instance, if you are blogging about a ski resort in Switzerland, you might draw interest from hotels, airlines, restaurants, and ski equipment manufacturers in the area, all of which ties back to the idea of skiing, how to get to the slopes, and where to stay and what to eat once you get there. You could reach out directly to various companies to explain how your content can support their operations, or you could work indirectly, through a network like Google AdSense.
A network works by matching ads to the blog content. In the example above, AdSense would pick up on the skiing and run ads about ski equipment, airlines, and so on. You would get paid every time someone reading your blog looks at the ad.
You can also earn money by affiliate marketing, which means that you connect to another site and recommend its products and services. When someone visiting your blog clicks on the link you provide, goes to the other site, and purchases the item you recommended, you will get a commission.
If you try affiliate blogging, it is vital your readers know that you are earning a small commission from their purchases. Your transparency will help build trust with your readers. Also remember that if you are recommending a company’s services and products, you should make sure they are of the highest quality, as buyers’ experiences will reflect on you.
It is possible to sell products via your blog, either actual physical items or digital ones. You may want to create an online store, or an ecommerce platform, to highlight your offerings, but what would you sell?
If you’re blogging about that ski trip, you could sell T-shirts with your logo and a ski design, or a digital guide to the area around the ski resort.
If you decide you like this idea, you may be blindsided unless you also consider what kind of payment you will accept and how you will ship items. You will also have to charge tax. There are numerous resources online to help you learn how to handle payment, shipping, and taxes. Digital products are much easier as you can simply send them electronically.
Popular bloggers and YouTube streamers sometimes charge a membership fee for their blog or channel. This will only work if you have many readers and can offer unique and exciting content on a regular basis. A subscription fee should be reasonable; one popular channel charges $1.99/month. Adding subscribers can bring in money, but it will take time to establish the list, and thus create a solid income stream. However, if you are writing about something you love and are eager to share, working to develop a subscriber base will be enjoyable and ultimately rewarding. Subscriptions handled correctly will also give you a predicable source of income that will not vary wildly over time.
You must offer subscribers something for their money, of course. Some popular options are to offer special content to members only, or have a private area open only to subscribers.
If you are an expert in your field and not just a hobbyist, you can make money by offering training courses or coaching. You could create a course comprising eBooks and videos your readers can buy and download to work through on their own. You should ask for feedback to determine which courses are popular, and what others you should develop.
Finally . . .
You can use one or all these tips to create and make money from blogging. What you decide to do and how you develop your blog is up to you.
If it all sounds like too much effort and organization, you could instead write blogs for an agency like us at Words of Worth, as we do the legwork for you. Apply today to take the first step.