That’s the million dollar question everyone asks, including Mary from Colorado who emailed me recently asking for advice on her blog.
Like many of the people who come to my blogging workshops. Mary was ready to cut to the chase.
Mary had been blogging for six months and now, finally, she was ready to start making money from her blog.
“How can I make money from blogging?” Mary asked, then told me what she’d been doing so far.
To get things started Mary had added some advertisements on her blog and was pushing some affiliate products. Now, finding those things weren’t working, and wondering what else she could do to make a buck from blogging she’d contacted me for advice.
So I had a look at Mary’s blog.
“Woah!” I thought.
“Hold your horses, Mary. It seems like you’re missing something here. Before you can make money from blogging you need to get a firm grasp on the basics of blogging.”
But Mary wasn’t hiring me for a blogging consultation yet or I’d have been able to spent more time offering her detailed solutions. But instead I gave her two simple solutions to help her make money from blogging:
1. Get a decent blog design
Mary’s blog looked as if it had been thrown together by a three year old and that doesn’t inspire confidence.
She’s not alone. I still see a lot of people who are in pain because no one is reading their blog and they can’t work out why. And of course, how can you make money from blogging if no one is visiting or reading your blog?
The answer is, you can’t and, if that’s the case for you, usually bad blog design is the culprit.
You may be a new blogger, or new to your field, but your blog doesn’t need to advertise that to the world. Your blog should present you as the established professional you want to be.
Sometimes bloggers have a reasonable design that just needs tightening up and improving to make it more user-friendly and easy to read. But there was nothing to work with on Mary’s blog. No logo. No branding. No clear message.
If she wanted to make money from blogging Mary would need to invest in a decent blog design.
2. Read my blogging book and action the 12 steps to successful blogging
In case Mary was on a tight budget, or not ready to invest in professional blog design yet, I recommended she buy my blogging ebook. That way she could learn how to get her own blog design up to scratch, or engage a cheaper web designer but give them a clear blueprint on how her blog should look and work.
You may expect web designers to know the principles of good web or blog design but many don’t. It’s an unregulated profession and there are many web designers who are more interested in making some fast money for themselves than in delivering a sustainable, cost effective and long term marketing solution to their clients. That’s why you still see so many bad websites and blogs.
So my blogging book will teach Mary how, even if she can’t afford a professional web or blog designer, she can still set up a decent blog which makes her look as good as she is.
A professional blog design should make you look better than you are, but at least you want to look as good as you are and not have a blog which makes you look downright bad. It really breaks my heart when I see good people who have bad blogs because I know it makes them look bad too.
Successful Blogging in 12 Simple Steps explains the principles of good web design and screen legibility which I learnt 15 years ago when I was doing my MA in Design for Interactive Media. That knowledge isn’t rocket science, but it is essential if you want people to read your blog, subscribe to it and tell their friends about it.
Because only then can you start to make money from blogging.
So Can You Make Money From Blogging?
You’re probably feeling a bit ripped off because I haven’t tacked the million dollar question yet. How can bloggers make money from our blogs?
I think Mary had been ripped off too because she told me not only could she not afford my professional blog design services, she also couldn’t afford my book because she’s spent all her money on an e-course called Instant Internet Riches Through Blogging.
I’ve got to tell you here that I’ve changed the names to protect the innocent (mainly me and Mary) but that’s the name of the course and it was one of those with an exceedingly long sales page peppered with irritating animated arrows and enticements to click here.
If you still weren’t convinced if also promised to offer (in the form of endless bonus products) $2,500 worth of value for only $200.
Is it just me or is that impossible? Yes, you can get good deals on good products in sales but I’ve never seen any classic item reduced by over 90%. Even in factory outlet stores where designer goods are heavily reduced it’s only because they’re long out of fashion, or they were badly designed and don’t fit anyone.
But I digress.
You can make money from blogging but only long term. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but there’s no such thing as instant success.
Hopefully after six to twelve months you may be able to start making money from blogging.
How You Can Make Money From Blogging
So you have a good blog design, some great content and engaged readers? Excellent! Then you’re ready to make money from blogging and these are some ways you can do so:
1. By using your blog as a marketing tool for your existing (or new) business services and products.
I sell my web design, blog design, consultation and copywriting services indirectly through my blog. I don’t give them the hard sell but I have found new clients through my blog. Or rather they’ve found me.
I believe this is the most accessible way for people to make money from blogging and that’s why the focus of my blogging advice is to help business owners and writers market their services or products. It’s the most realistic way to make money from blogging, although you might not be able to track your income directly unless people buy direct from your blog.
2. By selling your own products.
If you have a good readership and people like your blog you can then create your own products related to your niche and sell them. Most blog readers are happy to pay for quality products.
This can bring in an additional income stream and in time, as your blog grows you can choose to focus more on that if you wish.
3. By becoming an affiliate reseller for quality products.
I recommend a handful of products I believe in and know might help my readers such as the Thesis WordPress theme. Make sure you stick to related products you really recommend. Readers first, money comes second.
Again this is an additional income stream for me, not a primary source of income. I like working with people. My core business is web marketing, not retail and I want to keep it that way.
I’m experimenting with this at the moment. It’s not my first choice because I prefer to keep my blogs looking clean and attractive but it’s definitely something I need to look into.
5. Diversify your blogging income
Diversification is the key to success with any financial investments. By diversifying you cut the risk and can track what works and what doesn’t. Professional bloggers all diversify their blog income by using all of the methods above (and often others too such as membership sites) to make money from blogging. You should too.
Are You Just in Blogging to Make Money?
I’m no clairvoyant but if that’s the case your blog will fail.
By trying to make money from blogging too soon Mary was killing her blog and losing her readers trust.
You have to blog about something you love, you have to be able to sustain that passion and really feel it to keep blogging long term and build a genuine connection with your readers.
You can make money from blogging but not straight away
But in the meantime, until you start to make money from blogging you can enjoy these other benefits blogging has to offer:
- Networking opportunities.
- Confidence building.
- New friendships.
- Writing practice.
- Personal growth.
- Business building.
- Increased focus.
- Improved motivation.
- Opportunity to establish your expertise.
What do you think? Can you make money from blogging? Do you want to? And if so what would be the best way for you to make money from your blog?