How Do Blogs Make Money?

Because I have been working online virtually from the very beginning of it’s existence I am often asked how blogs make money?

The word blog is a shortened version of weblog, which itself comes from the words web (for website) and log (from ship’s log, which was the day to day record kept by a ship’s captain of the ships movements and activities, you may also be familiar with the phrase Captain’s log in Star Trek). So blogs were originally written as an online diary recording somebody’s day to day activities, especially worldwide travelers as they moved from place to place. So they are structured with the latest episode presented to the reader first so that someone following the story get the latest activity first. Over time the blog format came to be used for much more than just recording a journey. People began to write blogs about their interests and hobbies, about their pets, children and jobs. Soon blogs existed for just about any and every topic you could imagine. This vast array of subjects are now usually referred to as niches by bloggers who write about them with the very specific purpose of making money. So a blogger might carefully choose their topic or niche having first worked out how they can make money from it, or someone might make a blog about something that they are passionate about and then at a later date decide to try to make some money from it.

When you make money from a blog, we say that we are monetizing it, that is the accepted phrase for building an income stream into a blog. There are several ways for blogs to make money, but essentially they all stem from somebody selling something to somebody else.

Making Money From A Blog By Posting PPC Ads

One of the easiest ways to monetize a website is by placing Pay Par Click ads on it. The best known of these is Google’s own Adsense program. You will e familiar with the paid for ads at the top of Google’s search results, well this is exactly the same except the ads appear on your blog. If a visitor sees the ad and chooses to click on it you make some money. Don’t get too excited Google don’t like to pay out too much so it takes a lot of clicks to make any real money, but as a simple way to monetize your blog why not. As your blog grows and gets more pages and more visitors the ads get more clicks so as time goes by your earnings rise.

Making money from a blog by selling something on it

The obvious way to make money from a blog is of course, to sell something on it, a physical item that you own and that you will send to the buyer. Of course it needs to be relevant to the blog. You aren’t going to have a blog about cookery or a blog about hiking in France and then try to sell customized dog collars on it, but you might have a blog about customized dog accessories and sell dog collars on it, or you might have a blog about your life as a dog groomer and sell dog collars on it, because in both cases your readers will already have an interest in dogs and might want to buy your products.

Of course you have to factor into this the fact that you need to have the time to customize the dog collar for your customer, you need a supplier of dog collars to buy the base collars from, you need somewhere to hold your stock and you need a way of taking the payment and packaging the collar and then sending it out to your customer.

Taking the payment can be straightforward enough, you can do it through PayPal, through PayPal you can just create an invoice to ask for the money and they pay you. Or you could have a PayPal Button on your page to take the payment. When you are logged in to your PayPal account there is a ‘Request Money’ link. Here you can just request money from your customers email address, or create a PayPal invoice which is emailed to them, or create a link or a PayPal button. Don’t forget to price up your item to take into account the cost price of the collar and the time it takes you to customize it and still make a profit.

This method can apply to anything that you can buy or make that is relevant to the content of your blog, but bear in mind that if it took off, could you handle the workload and would it be worth it? If you had 25 orders a week that took you an hour to produce each item, could you fit 25 hours of work on top of writing the blog and doing your day job? and could you charge enough to make it worth your while?

Selling A Digital Product On Your Blog

Selling a digital product on your blog is less work because your customer either just downloads it or you email it to them. There is nothing for you to make or to physically deliver, but what is a digital product? Usually we are talking about a book or guide usually saved as a pdf that people pay a small sum for and they can then print off to read or to use. It could be a step by step guide to customizing dog collars or an eBook about training your dog to do something, or not do something. Again it has to be very relevant to your blog. If it was the hiking in France website it might be your guide to the Top 10 vineyards in a particular area. The beauty of digital downloads is that you don’t have to charge a fortune. Once you have created the product there is no more work for you to do, because you can even create a method to automatically deliver the item to your customers email address as soon as payment is made. If you only charged $5 for your item, it is cheap enough for people who found your page interesting to make a quick inexpensive purchase of something that they will enjoy and benefit from, and if 10 people a week bought it you’re making $200 a month for no additional work, and if you then place a similar low cost download item on every page of your website, every time you wrote a new post, how much a month could you be making?

Selling Somebody Else’s Product on Your Blog

Selling somebody else’s product on your blog is known as Affiliate Marketing. This means that you are just providing a lead or introduction to the product in question and if they buy it then you earn a commission from the sale. This is another great way to monetize your blog because their are companies selling all sorts of things online who operate affiliate programs. You would just choose things relevant to your blog and promote their products and services.

Taking our dog related blog, you could promote dog accessories, dog clothes, dog toys, pet insurance etc. The hiking in France blog could promote outdoor clothing, backpacks, hats, hiking equipment, outdoor survival equipment or French wine and food. You can even just promote products on Amazon by being an Amazon affiliate.

There are a two distinct ways of doing this, you can be passive or active. Don’t confuse this with a passive income and an active income, that is something else and I talk about those elsewhere. Affiliate Marketing is a passive income that you can promote passively or actively.

You could just have an advertising box or banner on each post of your blog. This is a passive advertisement. Your visitors see it, if it is of interest the click on it and visit the advertisers website. It is passive because you are doing nothing but presenting the advertisement, whether your visitor clicks on it is entirely up to them. If they do click on it any sales produced from that click within a set period of time earns you an income. This period can be anything up to 90 days depending on how the affiliate program is set up, so your visitor could view the advertisers offer and return a month later and you still get the commission if they buy something.

Alternatively you could go for actively promoting affiliate products. This is where your post is specifically talking about the product or service in question. You might pick a particular product that is relevant to your blog and do an in depth review of it, showing its features and benefits and to be impartial point out any drawbacks that it has, but overall you are looking to give a generally favorable review because you want your visitor to buy it so that you can earn a commission. This is where you tread a fine line because you need to inspire confidence in your integrity and truthfulness.

Another way is to build your top ten of something. It could be your top 10 winter dog coats or your top 10 french wines. This way you can genuinely point out the strengths and weaknesses of each product and award your genuine favorite the number one position. Prospective customers like to read reviews of products before buying something. If they read your review and then click through to the sellers website and buy it, you get your commission.

Many people make an entire blog promoting products on Amazon and this works for some, but I prefer to mix it up, because everyone knows Amazon and it’s the first place people look anyway and the first place the search engines show in search results, so I like to find some hidden gems that people might not have seen before which works great for product reviews and top tens, also Amazon tend to pay lower commissions so if you can find that great product elsewhere and promote it, you just might make more commission.

This is how blogs make money, and the successful ones use a combination of all of the above so that every page has several ways to make some money

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