DISCLOSURE: The utmost transparency with my readers is important to me. Therefore, I want to fully disclose that within this post there may be affiliate links. If an affiliate link exists, it's a product/service I trust or it wouldn't be there in the first place.
Everyone today is considered a blogger. Anyone who has a web journal and posts thoughts about their daily routine is considered a blogger. While many people might not have a blog, they still post their thoughts in long, drawn-out facebook status updates or notes. If you have something to say… why not start your own blog? At least there are ways to monetize a blog – so it's not just chitty-chat on someone else's platform like Facebook!
Blogs, as I mentioned, are just web journals really. They post in chronological order. You type an entry, submit it, and there it is, on your blog. There are blogs on birds and art and music…. you name it. But that doesn't mean that your shouldn't start a blog yourself. You are unique and what you have to say, might speak volumes to more people than you think.
You can start a blog for free when you begin (but I do not recommend this!), but you start making money by blogging once you move up to a blog that is self-hosted. A self-hosted blog isn’t free but it isn’t very expensive either. You pay for a domain name and web-hosting which will cost you under twenty bucks per month — and even cheaper if you go with a host like Bluehost. They typically allow you to grab your domain name completely free and hosting can run less that $5 a month in some cases. Bluehost offers amazing customer support too. See my post on creating your own blog in 15 minutes using Bluehost and you will jump right in!
NOw – if you insist on going the FREE wrote and not getting your own domain — you might check out tumblr.com, blogger.com, WordPress.com, and WordPress.org are free but they contain limited features. It is possible to make a few hundred dollars per month using these bogging platforms, but making a sustainable income will be done with a self-hosting blog.
1. Figure out what you want to write about. Is this a personal blog? A business blog? Is it on a specific hobby or topic. Figure out where you're going with this blog. Think down the road.
2. Brainstorm and select a domain name that speaks to you (and speaks to those that might be reading it). I suggest making it as short as possible and conveys what you're trying to convey.
But How Do Bloggers Make Money?
Now comes the making money part. While it is true that you write posts on your blog, you get paid in a few different ways that aren't directly related to the actually writing. You can generate income through CPC Ad Networks such as Google’s Adsense program. Much like the ads which surround your gmail as you construct an email, this program places ads on your blog relevant to the content of the article. You can also make money through CPM Ad Networks which are pay-per-click ads. Affiliate product sales are when you get a percentage of the sale for referring customers. Direct ad sales are when you sell ad space on your blog and they pay you for it. Of course you can’t make money overnight with a blog. It takes a lot of time and some hard work. Working a blog an average of ten hours per week will make you very little money for the first year. But as the end of the first year comes to a close, you will see some gain. At that point, the second year will lead you into supplemental income and finally, a larger income to replace yours. It is typical that the first year does not yield much but the second year is the crucial year leading to continued income.
Now that you have the blog, you want traffic to your blog. This can be done through means of guest posting, signing up for community blogging sits, submitting to Blogcarnivals, joining directories, commenting on blogs, commenting on forums, linking your blog to other blogs, creating Squidoo pages, submitting articles, and specifically working with SEO content. Of course social media is now a huge player in blog growth. Most of my traffic comes from social media these days. I suggest creating at least a Twitter account, Facebook Fan page and Pinterest account (if your site is visual). There are many others, like Instagram — but at minimum I would start the ones I mentioned above.
My List of Awesome Ways to Monetize Your Blog
1. Google Adsense
– They are picky and have criteria – but once you've met the criteria, sign up! Read their terms of service carefully and start placing their ads on your site. You can customize the ads as well.
2. Media.net (Bing Ads)
– Like Google Adsense, they have criteria. There is customization too. You could start with them and then maybe move to just Adsense if/when you get accepted by them.
3. Commission Junction
– They've been around forever, very reputable. A HUGE variety of companies that they work with. I feel like any niche would be able to find products or services to share on their blog.
– They are more lenient on their criteria – but don't have a massive amount of opportunities. Worth checking out though.
– They also been around a long time, since 2000. Their dashboard is a little archaic, but they have a lot to offer as far as advertisers and they are pretty lenient as well about affiliate criteria.
– They take select blogs – their standards and criteria are very high. But if you can get into their program – it's well worth it. They do all the ad optimization for you.