Of course, offering products and services doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive from using ads. You can do both, but what I see happen is that when you start to make $5 from ads you try to figure out how you can make even more and that becomes your focus. The tactics you use to boost your ad revenues are often the ones that prevent you from building your list and promoting your own products.
Create an online store if appropriate. If you are an arts and crafts blogger, create a shop through etsy or another service for selling your artwork. If you are a writer or illustrator, search for a website that will sell T-shirts with your slogans or drawings on them. Many blog topics are not easily tied to products. You don't need to sell anything to make money, but if it fits your blog, do it.
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.
I’m starting from square one in terms of becoming a blogger. I don’t even know what I want to blog about yet. My goals for starting a blog are a bit different than many, however. I’m not trying to create another source of income; I would simply be trying to create a reader base because my ultimate goal is to become a published novelist and when pitching your book, I believe it is helpful to already have an established readership. This will theoretically help you stand out to agents/publishers. 🙂 In addition, blogging would help me develop my writing skills, hopefully be of some use to people, and allow me to express myself and connect with others. Do you have any advice for me?
However, if you’re looking to build a business out of your blog or make money blogging, I would highly recommend some of the paid (yet still very affordable) options that I’m going to cover below. If you're on the fence about whether to use a free or paid hosting provider to get started... here’s why you should consider (an affordable) paid hosting provider:
The next step in building a blog that will actually make you money somewhere down the road is to purchase a domain name. If you’ve decided what you’ll blog about, then you need to find a domain name that’s going to be harmonious with that. Pick a name that’s short enough to be easily remembered, but also keyword-rich enough to be applicable to your content.
Digital products are another awesome way to make money with your blog. Rather than selling someone else’s product or service, you’re creating something of your own and selling it directly to your tribe. There are many options to choose from when it comes to digital products, but we’re going to look at what we’ve seen and consider to be the top three.
Spend enough time to create 5-10 pieces of awesome content, and spend the rest of your time networking. Leave thoughtful comments on authoritative blogs that you enjoy reading. Reach out and email influential bloggers without asking anything in return. After a month of being selfless, try to secure a guest post on those authoritative blogs and capture some of their audience (your guest post should be amazing).
Direct Income – when I started making money from my blogs it was through ‘direct’ income streams. I put AdSense ads on my blog and promoted some products on Amazon as an affiliate and the more readers I had the more income began to trickle in (it really was a trickle at first). In time as my traffic grew this income grew and I was also able to experiment with other direct forms of income such as selling advertising directly to advertisers.
Protip: If you look at my contact page, you’ll notice I don’t put my email address in standard form with the @ and . signs. Instead I write it out like this: AmyLynnAndrews at gmail dot com. I do this to cut down on spam. The idea is to throw off any bots crawling the web hunting for the standard email format, harvesting it and blasting me with unwanted emails. Honestly, I’m not sure how well it works. It might just be a holdover from my younger blogging days. I should research this again. 🙂
I will read it and refer to it again but I'm still a little undecided about it. For one thing, this author has been SO successful that to have her level of success described in detail just feels overwhelming. She has all manner of assistants, a lawyer, a CPA, etc. on her payroll. It didn't make me feel inspired, like "I can do that, too!" It just made me think well, lucky you but right now I'd rather hear about what I as an individual can do. Also I kept waiting for her to talk about how the profit comes into the picture. Not that I wanted to ignore all the stuff you have to do to get to that point, I just wanted to hear about how it works because if you're telling me about all this difficult work I need to do, I want to see some money at the end of it. She did eventually discuss it but it took a while. And in saying all this, I've already had two blogs in the past. So if you are an absolute beginner you may want to start with something else. I also wish I'd bought it in paper (if it's available, I don't remember) instead of on Kindle, so I could highlight, skip around, and refer back to it more easily.