Have you thought about how to monetize a blog for writers?
You can write, of course. But relying on book sales income is, for most authors, fraught with the danger of sales cycles. Some months can be good, others not so fantastic, while there are times of the year when book sales in general peak and trough.
In contrast, a well-designed, focused, and informative blog can deliver a steady passive income throughout the year.
When you start to monetize a blog, it does not necessarily mean you will make a fortune. But my experience with blogs is that the income from each of mine has been remarkably consistent, with steady year-on-year income growth.
The five musts to generate an income from blogging
Where do you start if you want to earn an income from your writing by blogging?
For writers, before you start to monetize a blog, there are five essential first steps to take and consider before you leap into it.
When you get these right, you are on your way.
1. A great blog that is minutely focused on one subject
Topics are limitless, but if you think a fashion blog would suit you, this is far too broad.
Think about fine-tuning your blog towards leather fashion, fashion for over 50s, or sustainable and responsible fashion.
For a gardening blog, consider specializing in one species, such as camellias or roses, growing kitchen herbs, or on balcony gardens.
No matter your broad subject, focus on one narrow topic that will make your blog a specialist informative portal for readers.
Try to become an expert on your topic, and you will find that search engines will recognize the fact.
2. You will have to use a WordPress blog
There is no escape from the necessity of having your blog on a self-hosted WordPress platform.
No, not the free WordPress.
Most free blogging platforms are ad-supported by the operator.
So you can’t monetize these sites by displaying ads.
To blog successfully, you will need all the income-producing tools a self-hosted site will make available.
Yes, you will have some startup costs.
As a rough rule of thumb, it will cost you around US $100-150 per year in hosting fees for your site.
However, WordPress itself is free, and there are 1,000s of free WordPress themes and plugins that you can use to increase the functionality and look of your site.
If you want more, there are professional themes and plugins that will cost you a little but not a lot.
I use a professional theme that costs me less than $50 a year and a mix of free and paid plugins.
3. Your site must be a .com address
While it is certainly possible to make money from a site other than .com, it is always best to find a .com name.
My blogs started with a .ch name, but after changing to .com, my amount of traffic increased exponentially.
The reason is probably to do with Google and Bing Search indexing sites with geographical endings and targeting specific countries and regions, while .com is not geo-targeted.
4. You will need to get lots of traffic
A site with little or no traffic will make no money at all.
There are three ways to build site traffic.
Use SEO to get search engine traffic, leverage social media to the maximum, or pay for Google Ads.
I prefer the first two.
They are slower but are much cheaper, and you will build a more loyal audience over the long term.
If you are intent on gaining a lot of organic traffic, you will need to get serious and start thinking about investing in your blog.
It took me a long time to make that decision.
But there is no cheap way to compete and keep attracting a high volume of organic traffic.
I invested in a premium SEO tool for all my sites and have never looked back.
It has helped me increase my traffic by more than ten times and is still growing.
5. Your blog must be at least one year old
Because when you apply to advertisers such as Google Adsense, Ezoic, Media.net, Mediavine, or any other pay-per-click advertising program, they will want to see that your blog will make money for them if you display their ads on your site.
The only way to prove this is to have a good history of steady and increasing traffic to your blog.
Understanding this is vital, so forget about making a cent in advertising in your first year, but get to work on building your fantastic blog now and reaping the year-on-year rewards later.
During the first year, you should concentrate on writing great content.
Use SEO to increase your site visitors as well as give your blog maximum social media exposure.
However, don’t despair.
Read on, and you will find out that there are ways writers can monetize a blog that will help deliver revenue much sooner.
Ways you can earn money from your blog
There are hundreds of ways to monetize a blog for writers with product reviews, services, or content marketing.
A quick search on the Internet will find a long list of ideas.
However, the five main categories are listed below.
Some have the potential to make a modest but regular income, while others can give you very good returns if you are prepared to put in some hard work.
1. Banner and text advertising
For writers, this is obviously the easiest way to monetize a blog.
Once you are approved by a provider such as Google Adsense, Ezoic, or a host of others, it is only a matter of adding a script (a short piece of code) to your blog, and ads will start appearing.
You will get paid when people click on the ads, or in some cases, after every 1,000 views.
This is by far the quickest and easiest way to make money from a blog.
There is nothing you need to do once your ads are in place.
But as I noted before, you will need to get your blog approved first, and this rarely happens for a very new blog.
Most ad providers want to see 50,000 visits per month, but some have a lower threshold.
If you can build steady traffic after a few months, try applying. If that fails, try again after a couple more months.
2. Selling ads, links, images, and advertorial posts
Again, your blog needs to be getting traffic. But advertisers will pay for ads as well as text and image links on blogs.
All this involves is placing a short text link in a post that will lead to the advertiser’s page.
Prices depend on negotiation but range from $10 to $35 for each link you sell.
Image links are usually small ads that you will have to add to your site. Very often, these are sold on a monthly or annual basis.
Advertorial content is a blog post or article written by an advertiser to help promote their product or service.
If your blog is about fashion, it may be an advertiser selling clothes online, and publishing content on your site helps to sell its products.
Again price is by negotiation, but you can expect to charge between $25 to $100 per article for sponsored posts.
3. Selling your service
By a long way, this is the best way to make money from your blog, and you can start promoting your service as soon as your blog is online.
There are, again, hundreds of services you can supply online.
If you are a writer, you could think about writing for other sites, editing, proofreading, offering online courses for new writers, or writing reviews or copy for promotional purposes.
You might have expertise in other areas, such as graphic design, logo creation, or social media management.
Many freelance writers use this as an income stream.
Put your thinking cap on, and you will find a service you can provide and promote on your blog.
4. Sell books!
One of the real benefits of building a monetized blog is that it can improve your book sales.
This is because you will concentrate all your efforts on building a lot of traffic.
Simply put, the more visitors you get, the more chance you will have to sell your books.
You can also utilize some online platforms to sell your books online through various voucher portals like VoucherBin to boost book sales.
Another use for an ebook is to make it free on your blog.
But only in return for an email address to build your email list.
You kill two birds with one stone by asking for an email address.
One, you help build your mailing list, and two, you have found a potential new reader to consider buying your other books.
Of course, you can consider selling digital products in any form from your blog.
5. Affiliate marketing
One of the most popular means of making an income from a blog is to find affiliate programs to add affiliate links to your blog.
Probably the most well-known is Amazon Associates, which lets you advertise Amazon products on your site, and you earn a commission for every sale your site generates.
Like advertising programs, it is quick and easy.
It’s usually only a matter of adding a script to your blog, and then you don’t need to do anything more.
Another advantage is that getting approval for this means of income generation is easier.
Is a monetized blog for you?
Money does not fall from the sky.
So don’t expect to make money from blogging without doing the work necessary to make it a success.
There will also be a learning curve, especially during the first year.
However, you will reap the rewards if you put in the effort.
I started blogging over fifteen years ago but only got serious about monetizing my sites in the last five or six years.
I have four blogs, of which two make a small but regular monthly income from advertising.
One earns a good income from advertising, links, and content, and another from affiliate programs.
Because my blogs were up and running at the time, I didn’t have to wait a year when I first started monetizing.
So they became income-producing quite quickly. Not making a fortune, but enough to be encouraged at the time.
Since then, the income from my blogs has increased every year. They now deliver a very regular five-figure part-time income for me.
Are you ready to get to work and start making money from your blog?
Related reading: How To Write A Great Blog Post – The Key Features You Need