Blogging and money. Some of the sleaziest words in existence. Most folks don’t know how to make money from their blogging, while others are too shy to even attempt it.
And at the same time, without a financial incentive, beginners tend to slack off on learning about this online environment, building a community, or writing great content; if you’re not getting paid, why even bother?
I see a lot of bloggers rushing to monetize, and I think that they got it all wrong: choosing certain topics because they think will make them money (rather than writing about things they’re passionate about), not focusing on their content as the most important thing on the blog, and overwhelming this uninspiring and uninteresting content with lots of ads.
These blogs rarely survive longer than a few months because the blogger gets frustrated by the lack of initial earnings and/or feedback, and has no real interest in the topic to keep punching those keys.
Should You Monetize From Day One?
This is a tricky question. I did offer short stories for sale, and did half-heartedly try to promote them in my posts and blog’s sidebar, but I didn’t use ads until six months into the journey.
As for selling ad space directly to my readers, I didn’t do that until a year had passed since I started blogging.
My advice? Take your time. Do not rush in the hopes that money will somehow feed your ego, or make you happy, because it won’t. Not in the long run.
Feed your soul. Write the kind of stuff you’d be writing even if money didn’t exist. Or better yet, what if you had seven or so billion dollars? What would you be blogging about then?
Experiment. A lot.
There are literally tens of options for making money from your blog and each one will suit different blogs differently.
A couple things to keep in mind:
- The more creative you are, the more you earn.
- Readers tend to reward you for the content you share for free (this is why the donation button still works) or because they want more access to you (one-on-one coaching and stuff like that)
- It is crucial to know your audience. Imagine a short story writer never bothering to sell a compilation of short stories to his readers, but relying on serving ads on his blog.
Also, one thing to be constantly aware of is the indirect method of making money: by building connections with fellow people. Social influence, so to speak. Some blogs never earn much from ads, or from affiliate links, or even from selling products, but they allow the blogger the chance to become friends with future sponsors or business partners: a few years ago I did a business deal with someone who enjoyed my blog a lot. I ended up earning more in a few months than in my previous four years of blogging.
Multiple Income Streams.
I have yet to use a cliche in this post, so this is it: don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Now, my advice would be not just to try everything from ads to selling products to affiliate links, but to also try to have more than just one blog, or more than one medium.
The thing is that some income sources tend to dry up over time.
That’s why that terrible, terrible cliche will help you. A lot.
And, yes, this is what happened to me as I relied heavily on donations and ad revenue. Before that, I’d be pissed every single summer because that meant book sales went down considerably.
Do Not Chase the Dollar. Let it Chase You.
Here’s the thing: if you focus 90% of your time and energy on creating the best content and properly promoting it, then it’s almost impossible not to make money.
Folks e-mail you offering to send you money. I’m not kidding.
That’s why content is still king. And, sadly, it’s one of the least understood tricks of this trade. It’s a failure of the imagination to think that this blogging world is anything other than a meritocracy. Maybe the truest one we’ve ever had.
If you are good enough, the money will come.
What is your experience with making money from your blog/s?
Let’s discuss in the comments section below.