So naturally it’ll probably start out as a side-hustle, but if you want to make an actual living blogging, you’re going to have to get a lot more serious than the average blogger. Pick any niche – any niche at all, and you’ll find that there is just so much competition already. That should not deter you though, because it’s possible to get to a stage at which your blog earns you a living.
If there is pretty much no competition in your niche, it’s likely way too specialised and you won’t have much in the way of regular users who are actively engaged in ways that earn you money through your blog. Sure, there are some specialist niches such as those dealing with technical issues in specific markets, but then again, in those niches, the bloggers you’d be competing against for market share are those operated by authoritative specialists. Pretty much every engineering company’s website will have an integrated blog, for example. So that’s who you’ll be competing against.
All of that said, we should get into how to actually make a living blogging. What are the ways through which you can have your blog generating you a consistent flow of income?
Your niche: a lifestyle blog with a main focus
You’d be shooting yourself in the foot if you decided to “drill one inch wide and 20 miles deep,” as has been the old adage around making a success out of blogging. Sure, it’s encouraged to have a main niche which you focus on, but it shouldn’t be in isolation. You’re just limiting yourself that way, particularly in terms of the monetisation opportunities.
So it should be more like a lifestyle blog, incorporating all aspects of your life, but with a main focus that falls in line with the main focus of your life, i.e. your career, hobby, special interest, etc. Mine is a lifestyle blog, but my main focus is photography, which you may or may not have noticed…
Passive income through affiliate links
I probably don’t need to explain how affiliate sales work, but just briefly, if somebody clicks through your unique affiliate link and goes on to complete a purchase from the vendor you’ve partnered up with in this way, you earn commission. While it’s difficult to monetize isolated niches in this way, the exact opposite is true for inclusive lifestyle content. If someone comes to my blog to read about photography, for instance, that doesn’t mean they’ll only buy photography equipment. They might want to buy socks, furniture, food, plane tickets, etc.
Direct advertising sales
The above-mentioned approach to content monetization can and should be applied across all the other monetization channels explored, including direct advertising sales. Basically, you’ll just open up your blog for advertisers to pay you to place their ads. Use Google Analytics to record visitor metrics as this the only way through which you can universally prove the implied value for prospective advertisers.
Traffic monetization partnerships
This is perhaps business which finds you instead of you going out to find it, but traffic monetization partnerships are basically arrangements made with a different kind of advertiser. This guy will contact you and make an arrangement to compensate you for the traffic your blog sends to them.
You can actively seek these out, but usually it’s the advertiser who seeks out bloggers to work with.
A sponsored post is what it says on the tin – a sponsor will pay you to embed a link back to their site in the next blog you write. As is suggested, the emphasis is on keeping it real, natural and organic. The link is to go in a post which you would have naturally written, without really taking into account any prospective sponsors.
You can join blogger agencies, on whose networks you will be listed to receive orders for sponsored posts. Some really good rates are often offered by these agencies, but they do charge a commission, of course.
Otherwise you can call for advertisers to sponsor posts directly, without having to go through an agent. This can be done in addition to going through an agency, of course.
So ultimately, making a living blogging comes down to sales. Whether you’re selling products and services, or if you’re selling advertising space in some way.