One of the biggest questions we get asked is: “how do bloggers make money?”
It doesn’t seem like it should be possible to make that much money from tapping away at a keyboard in your bedroom, but many bloggers seem to be gallivanting across the globe, funding their lavish lifestyles with ease.
The number of bloggers is expected to reach 31.7 million in 2020, so those who want to get ahead in the blogging game need to get savvy. While good bloggers can run a great website, the best bloggers will run a great brand. A little business knowledge can go a long way to help you make money and attract a bigger audience.
What makes a good blog?
The vast majority of blogs get started with just two things: a laptop and a writer. When someone has something to say, they will say it.
What separates the average blog from the potential business is a strong idea from the start. While it can be good to experiment with style, it will be far more beneficial to make claim on your territory by carving out a specific niche for your blog.
The best bloggers are those who have a clear-cut territory — they will automatically have a good standing from which to create a brand and start a business.
Building a brand
A strong brand will guide your content and help to really sell your concept to your audience.
- Obviously there’s the overall tone to be thought about: fun or serious; styled or simple? Tone will help you position your brand as a blogger, and will determine which types of brands and businesses you end up partnering with. So don’t rush it.
- Then there are colors, fonts, photographs — the whole visual architecture of your brand. What many (less successful) bloggers often forget is how much these things matter and just go with cheap templates and DIY logos. Stand out from the pack with something slick and meaningful.
- Build a framework in which you can comfortably place yourself so that your audience comes to know what they can expect to see from you, and will start to recognize your work.
- Just like a business, a blog also needs a USP: a unique selling point. If you don’t set yourself apart from the rest, then why should people come to you?
Once you start thinking about your blog as a business rather than an online diary, you can start making money from it.
Know your audience and what they want from your blog
You need to start thinking like a business person. This means that you need to strategize, and then put these strategies into action.
For a blog to succeed, it is crucial that you know your audience. This means you need to sign up to Google Analytics and keep an eye on the types of people who read your blog.
Many bloggers lose people from their audience by alienating them when they accidentally forget (or don’t know) the main group of people they are talking to!
Do you know whether people access your blog on mobile or desktop? What browsers they are using? How old they are? Where they live? Whether they are male or female?
Image Credit: Google Analytics
Use this audience data to craft content and post topics that will drive up your traffic and engagement levels. Rather than writing for yourself, write for your audience.
Branching out with your business model
Once a your blog has a stable foundation, you can start thinking about how you can turn this brand into a fully-functioning business. This means deciding on the best ways to make money and maximizing profit-making opportunities for your blog.
Three main ways to create a brand and monetize your blog:
- Advertising on your website or vlog
- Working with brands
- Selling products
When putting adverts on your website, you need to think about what people want to see and how they want to see it. Many bloggers use Google Adsense as an easy way to make money from views, and while it may be easy, it doesn’t give you much control over content, or how much money you earn from it. You may find it more beneficial to approach potential advertisers yourself and sell the spaces on your website. Just make sure you know the specifications of the spaces and the cost on advertising before you approach anyone so that you don’t end up looking unprofessional.
Making these connections with other brands will help you increase your blog profits. Aim for long-term relationships with these companies and you could start offering to write posts that mention them, or talk about them on social media for an extra fee.
Another great way to expand your blog as a business is to branch into ecommerce. If you have succeeded in building a brand and finding your niche, it should be easy for you to think of products to sell. A food blogger could create branded cookware, or a travel blogger could sell branded luggage tags or travel pillows emblazoned with the blog logo.
Once you’ve settled on what you are going to sell, you then need to give your readers a place to buy your products. If you’ve set up your blog using WordPress, it’s simple to add the WooCommerce plugin to your blog to make it ecommerce friendly. If you haven’t used WordPress, or if you want to use a hosted solution, there are some other great providers you can use. Shopify is popular for building stores and comes with an excellent community support system to help you branch out from blogger to ecommerce business owner.
Stick with your niche and people will buy. Even simple t-shirts, buttons and posters could work! There are many companies out there that will help you set up a print on demand store, such as Teespring and Spreadshirt — a low-hassle way of branching out into ecommerce for the first time.
Building a business not only means that you get to make more money, but also that you get to promote your blog to a wider audience. The internet is a fickle place, so making sure you diversify your blog’s money-making and promotional methods will be incredibly beneficial to you in the long run.