If you're passionate about a subject and you have decent writing skills, blogging definitely could be an alternative career path for you. The short answer is, yes, it is possible to make a living—a very good one, even—by writing online. On the other hand, the hard truth is most of the millions of bloggers today don't make enough to support themselves just with their blogs. Let's take a look at what's involved.
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The most successful bloggers are not afraid to think outside of the box. They know how to effectively market their blogs. They are artistic or otherwise graphically inclined for website design. They know how to use social media to promote their blogs. Simply put, as a blogger, if you do not have writing and editing skills, you can always hire an editor. But if you are not clever, creative, motivated, innovative, strategic, and forward-thinking, your blog will not thrive.
NOTE: I’ll get into this in the section on Helping Other Bloggers, but be sincere in your help. If you only seek out to get something out of someone else, you won’t form a relationship with that person. I’ve liked Stephanie’s blog and content since I first saw it. She has an amazing story of being broke in New York City, and she’s built this amazing personal finance business in just a couple years. I help Stephanie because I like Stephanie, not because I want or expect to get anything out of the relationship.
1) Become an Expert in Your Niche – Your niche is the topic area that you will write about, and you should choose something that you find interesting and meaningful. When you actually care about a topic, you will spend time reading about it and absorbing it, which will give you something of value to write about. Over time, you’ll become extremely knowledgeable about a specific topic area, and the articles and videos will follow your knowledge and passion.
Making money through blogging requires a carefully thought out topic. If you have an existing blog with a small audience, be honest when considering whether the topic has broad appeal that isn't already covered by other established bloggers. If it does, great! Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with starting a second blog that will be more successful in attracting an audience, marketing itself, and making money through a variety of methods described below.
If you are planning to create a personal blog where you discuss a variety of topics then I recommend using your name, or some variation of it, since your blog is all about you. For example, I own the blog scottchow.com. You can also add your middle name or middle initial if you find your name is already taken. Or you could use a variation like “Scott Chow Blog” or “Blogging with Scott”.
It might be the case that an audience understands the basics, but isn’t there still a place for this ‘basic’ information on any blog within a niche? Sure, they can get it elsewhere, but if the content doesn’t take too long to create then why not? There will always be new people entering a niche and if other blog information isn’t maintained then why not provide the latest?
These are certainly stark and sobering insights! I’ve only added some content to my travel blog fairly recently. Travel is certainly a saturated area, but on the flipside I guess it also has broad appeal. This brings me to ponder point 10 – positioning. I have some ideas and some strategies in my head, but will mull over this. Yaro, by providing the authoritative insights that you (and others) do, how much do you think these insights have been responsible for raising market sophistication across the board? Do you think that this creates an ever increasing base standard for success? (notwithstanding the point that you make above that the market is growing). The impression I am left with is that where large amounts of competitive quality content exists (i.e. most fields), it is those that harness the lessons that you (and other experts) provide, in combination with their own original tactical strategies that will prosper. Your thoughts?
Affiliate sales comprise a large chunk of revenue for most big-name bloggers. For instance, Pat Flynn made $53K last month from affiliate sales, compared to "just" $9,500 from book sales. In general, look for affiliate products with higher price points; web hosting companies are a great choice if it makes sense in your niche, with payouts of anywhere from $60-$130+ per signup.
If you can build a relationship with 10 early readers and work with them to pinpoint a challenge you're interested in building a physical or digital product for, focus next on repeatedly solving that problem yourself, then develop a plan of action for how you can personally help those 10 people solve that problem in their own unique situations as well. This'll be very manually at first, but that's necessary.
This one ties into the last point. The user experience of any digital space, whether it's your website or an app, can make or break that space's success. In short, visitors won't stick around if your site's user experience is poor. Furthermore, if you don't know who your audience is and what they want, you can't know for sure if your blog's user experience is optimized for them.
About Blog Helping you win loyal friends through your communications. I’m an outstanding writer, speaker, and community builder who understands how to motivate people. Passionate about social change, I left a senior management position so I could help nonprofit organizations tell their stories in person, in writing, and through social media. Blog by Dennis Fischman.
“No blogging for profit book has made the difference to me and my blog like this one. If you only read ONE of these subject books – LET IT BE THIS BOOK!!! After finishing the book, my blog is totally getting revamped, I have the excitement for it again, and now my whole direction has changed to not only help me become more profitable, but also for me to get back to ENJOYING what I do, which is really the best part!” -Danielle @ Busy Moms Helper
Understand the difference between total revenue and net income. Most income reports tout total revenue. Net income or profit (what really matters) is often buried in the post. I came across an income report recently with a super impressive number in the title (and Pinterest image). It was total revenue. Not until I read the whole post did I learn this blogger spent well over half their total revenue on Facebook Ads alone. On top of that, they had an extensive list of expenses. By the end of the post I realized I had netted more than they did the previous month.
Take it seriously. Yes, you’re applying for an online job. Yes, you can do the work in your underwear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a “real job”. You must treat it as such or they aren’t going to treat you as a serious candidate. You aren’t the only one who wants to work in their underwear. In fact, the competition online is likely higher than it is in your local area.
The problem is many of our blog idols are very much like I have been in the past, spreading the gospel of large numbers (not always overtly – but displaying your traffic counter as social proof does make people see big numbers as an indication of success). People then pursue the same path, just like you share in your story – quantity instead of quality, when it should be the other way around.
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