Blogging and Self-Publishing: Creating a Revenue Stream

how to make money bloggingHave you ever thought about starting a blog? Lots of writers double as bloggers, too. In fact, blogs can be quite profitable. If making money off your writing interests you, keep reading to learn more about how to make money blogging.

So, what is blogging? 

Back to basics. If you’re new to the online writing sphere, you may be confused about the difference between a blog, an article, a magazine, an op-ed, etc. The Internet holds a plethora of writing, and blogging is just one part of that. 

A blog is defined as, “a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.” Two things are important about that definition: a blog is regularly updated and written in an informal or conversational style. 

The first blog appeared online in the mid-90s, inspiring sites like LiveJournal, and in the 2000s, the blogging scene exploded. According to this article, between 1999 and 2006, the number of blogs skyrocketed from a mere 23 to an astounding 50 million. 

Nowadays, it seems like there’s a blog for everything. Book blogs. Writing blogs. Parenting blogs. Gaming blogs. Fashion blogs. Travel blogs. Health and wellness blogs. Political blogs. Even blogs about blogs! You name it, there’s a blog for it. 

What is the purpose of a blog?

Each writer creates a blog for a different reason. Some blog to educate, while others blog to entertain. Some blog to share their experiences, while others blog to shed light on a topic not otherwise discussed. The topic of a blog will inform both the tone and the reason for the blog existing. A travel blog, for example, may exist simply because the author wishes to share their experiences. Or, it may exist to recommend certain locales or educate travelers by sharing packing tips or destinations off the beaten path. 

Finding Your Blog Topic

But what should you blog about? Chances are, if you’re interested in starting a blog, you already have some idea of what you want to share. If you don’t know what you want to write about–you just know you want to write something–then you have some decision making to do. Ask yourself the following questions when starting your blog: 

  • What topic(s) do you know enough to write about frequently?
  • Do you have any niche interests? 
  • What will your blog offer that other blogs don’t?
  • What tone will you adopt? Serious? Satirical? 
  • What other blogs on the same topic exist? How will yours be different?

Once you’ve decided on a topic, you’ll need to create your blog online

How to Create a Blog

Before figuring out how to make money blogging, you need to first make a blog, and this includes choosing which website to host it. 

The following sites are popular blog hosting websites:

  • WordPress
  • Wix
  • Weebly
  • Medium
  • Squarespace
  • and more

Some of the aforementioned sites offer a free plan, which is a great option if you want to essentially test drive blogging. Before you invest, you can start posting for free (you won’t have a unique domain) to test the waters and build a readership for your site. WordPress, Wix, and Weebly all offer free plans.

Read this blog to learn more about how to create a blog. 

How to Make Money Blogging 

Now that you have some ideas for your blog, and you know how to make a blog, let’s talk about how to make money blogging. Writers dream of being able to support themselves on their writing alone. While many writers work day jobs (or multiple jobs) to support themselves and their writing, some are able to make a living for themselves through their craft. 

What are some ways writers can make money writing? 

Any combination of the above income streams can be lucrative, depending on how hard the author is willing to work. To be a self-publisher, freelancer, or any kind of content creator, you need to be entrepreneurial, hard working, and resilient. It’s not enough just to be creative. Making money from blogging is no different. You’ll have to work hard to achieve success.

How Do You Earn Money from Blogging?

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of it: how to make money blogging. You have a few different options, and you could combine multiple of these money-making strategies to increase your efforts.

Sell a product, such as your self-published book, or registration for workshops

This is the most basic money making option. If you’re a self-published writer, you should obviously include links to purchase your book(s) on your blog. You can post excerpts from the book to pique interest. If teaching creative writing interests you, you could start online courses or workshops that new writers will pay an enrollment fee to take.

Run advertisements on your site 

This is a very common way for bloggers to make money. Readers won’t mind seeing the occasional ad on your site–in the banner or on the side–and if your blog attracts a lot of traffic, your profits will increase. 

The two most common ad options are CPC and CPM ads. CPC means cost per click. If you go with this option, you’ll be paid a set amount every time a reader clicks on an ad they see on your site. If you choose CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions, or views), you will be paid based on how many users view the ad. 

Use Google Adsense 

Is your head spinning? Don’t worry. Running ads on your blog is easier than it sounds with Google Adsense. Adsense is one of the most popular advertising programs, and for a good reason: it takes all the hard work off your plate, and let’s you focus on what’s really important–your blog. 

Google Adsense finds advertisers for your by matching products to your blog. These targeted ads will be relevant to your site and the readers visiting it. All you have to do is create an Adsense account, add some code to your blog (which Google walks you through), and start making money. 

Adsense works on a cost-per-click (CPC) system, so it’s crucial to produce excellent content and attract a wide array of readers. The more readers that visit your blog, the greater the chance the ads will be clicked, and more money goes into your pocket.

Sponsored Content and Product Reviews

Starting to understand how to make money blogging? You need a well-designed, frequently updated blog that has a readership. Without people viewing your blog, you won’t get advertisement clicks or impressions, and you won’t attract sponsored content or product reviews. 

What is sponsored content? Sponsored content, or sponsored posts, are blog posts that companies pay bloggers or website owners to publish about that company’s service or product. For example, if you write and manage a food blog, a cookware company may pay you to write a recipe or post a video in which you are using their pots and pans. 

Sponsored content can be written by the blog owner or the company itself. If a company pays you to write the article, make sure you’re making more money for it.

Product reviews are similar to sponsored content. If you’re on social media, chances are, you’ve seen a product review. These reviews are all over Instagram and YouTube. A company will pay you to use or try their product and write or videotape your reaction and thoughts. Using the same example as above, if you run a food blog, an all-natural, vegan snack food company may send you a box of their latest creation to sample and review for your audience. 

Start Small (and Local)

You may be thinking, I’m new to this. How am I going to attract big businesses to run ads, sponsored content, or pay me for reviews? The answer: you likely won’t. Don’t expect to start advertising multi-million dollar companies on your blog. And that’s okay. 

Our recommendation is to start small: look to your community, to local businesses, and see what’s possible there. Like self-publishing, blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. Start small and work your way up. Reach out to companies that fit within your blog’s theme or niche. Did you start a creative writing blog? Consider advertising for bookstores, local authors, or college english programs. 

Using Google Adsense is another great option for those just starting out. Why not let Google do all the work? Sure, you won’t earn a million bucks, but you will see a profit, that much we know.

Do you have any other tips for how to make money blogging? What has worked for you and your blog? Let us know in the comments!