As part of our series on how to make money in the online marketplace for 2020 and 2021, let’s take a look at the so-called Blogosphere. Yes, blogging is still a viable way of reaching an audience, connecting with readers, and even earning a living. Even Forbes recognizes the importance of blogging, creating a list of top 25 ways to get your income online through maintaining a blog.
There are numerous blogging stars, such as Smart Passive Income owner Pat Flynn and his annual income report of about $2 million, but the majority of bloggers out there aren’t getting uber-rich. Yet many earn enough money to pay for all their living expenses without having to be tied down to an office job. If you’re the kind of person who likes to write content, enjoys creativity, and desires the freedom that comes with not being beholden to corporate overlords, blogging might just be the career move you’ve dreamed of in 2021.
How to Make Money Blogging
Many folks use blogging as a way to vent, engage in a hobby, or cultivate a community around a singular interest. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to those things. Blogging is incredibly versatile. Below are just a few ways that you can use your blog to earn income.
This one is usually the starting point. The idea is that you let companies advertise on your blog or in adjacent areas (such as within a newsletter associated with your blog, in your email signature, or other areas). Then, they pay you a set amount for each click that those advertisements generate.
If you’ve spent time cultivating a wide readership, you might offer brands the opportunity to sponsor a post on your blog. For example, if you run a food blog, you might get paid to write a review of a local food truck, or to provide a narrative experience of your time at a new restaurant in town. Financial blog writers could pursue sponsorships from banks or credit card companies with topics related to sound investing or money-saving tips. When deciding on a topic, think about:
- relevance to your blog
- previous posts your readership has enjoyed or interacted with
- companies and industries that can afford to pay you
Some bloggers get paid to review products or services for a specific company. This one can be tricky to navigate, ethically. However, it’s good practice to state up-front that you are being paid to provide an honest review. To be truly effective and considerate to your readership, though, you have to be willing to give your actual opinion — even if it is not favorable to the company providing the product or service. This isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re squeamish about offending the manufacturer or if you worry about a bad review souring the company toward any future collaboration.
Not everything on your blog has to be free! You’ll want to provide high-quality content, products, services (or whatever else your blog hosts) to everyone, but it’s not uncommon for blogs to have tiered memberships. If you are an artist, maybe a higher, paid tier of blog membership includes you drawing a specialized online avatar for your fan. Some bloggers who review entertainment (such as video games, films, board games, etc.) gate their content by allowing higher-paying members to select future topics.
You can come up with whatever gated content you want, but make sure that you’re still offering valid and meaningful content to your base, free tier. Otherwise, you might wind up without an audience at all, or with an audience restricted to the few who decide to pay for services.
In the modern era, companies have begun to realize that the future of the marketplace is virtual. As increased portions of corporate budgets go toward digital marketing and e-commerce portals, they have developed a premium way to make money through your blog: affiliate programs.
Essentially, affiliate programs are ways for bloggers and influencers to align with a brand, recommend that brand’s products to their audiences, and get paid for any purchases that are made. Some brands that have popular affiliate programs include:
The company usually provides a trackable link that you can display to your blog’s audience. If your readers click on the link and make a purchase on the company’s e-commerce site, you are given a portion of the revenue as a commission. If you’ve built a wide audience and the brand in question specializes in a service that is likely to interest that audience, joining an affiliate program might be your go-to option.
Save this option for after you’ve made a name for yourself in the blogging world. There are a ton of free web seminars available online at the click of a button, so it’s unlikely you will generate much interest with a paid version unless you truly have something to teach people. However, if you believe you have sufficient experience and can provide meaningful value, a paid webinar opportunity is not unheard of.
Promote Your Own Services
Your blog isn’t restricted to just advertisements for other businesses. It’s your space to do with as you please, and nothing’s stopping you from spreading the word about products or services you can provide. Plus, if the services you provide are related to the general tone and theme of your blog, chances are good that members of your online audience might be interested.
For example, you could sell content writing services if your blog is related to poetry, literature, or the written word. If your blog is about baking, you could sell your own baked goods. Blogs that focus on travel or outdoorsmanship might benefit from selling camping gear or even tours of local outdoor hotspots.
You Decide How to Make Money on Your Blog
Possibilities for making money online in 2020 and 2021 are practically limitless. Build your blog, create high-quality content, and start out by selling ad space to businesses. Over time, as your readership grows, sprinkle in additional revenue streams like affiliate program links, sponsored posts, and more. Before you know it, blogging could be your primary (and even only) source of income.