There's no doubt about it: some people manage to make big bucks from their blog! Whilst some bloggers are happy to create and maintain their blog simply for enjoyment, and a chance to engage with their audience, others are eager to use blogging as a way to generate a lucrative income. Amazingly, it's perfectly possible to create a blog that could make you thousands of dollars a month in less than a year. For some bloggers, this success could mushroom, with top bloggers making millions every year from their content! Here we take a look at how to create and monetise a blog for optimal return on your investment. Read on to discover which blogs are generating the most income, how to monetise and the right point at which to start extracting income from your blog. Ready to start making money? Let's go!
What is a blog?
At its most basic, a blog is a website or other platform that conveys information or promotes discussion. Almost any topic can be the subject of a blog. Within this broad definition, there is enormous variation, but the underlying method to make a blog a success remains the same: the creation of high-quality content. If you want your blog to bloom, content that's consistently awesome is essential.
How much money do top bloggers make?
Top bloggers make amazing money! Detailed below are some estimated earnings for well-known bloggers.
The Huffington Post - this US blog, which provides commentary on a wide range of issues, generates somewhere around 500 million USD (about 634 million AUD) each year.
Moz - Moz provides software that facilitates effective SEO and search engine recognition. It's estimated that Moz generates around 44.9 million USD (about 57 million AUD) per year.
Perez Hilton - Perez is a celebrity blogger and influencer. The blog features showbiz gossip, stories about celebrities and related content. Each year, the blog makes an estimated 41.3 million USD (around 52 million AUD).
Beauty and fashion are two areas that gather an enormous amount of interest, so it's little surprise that many top influencers blog in this field. Individuals such as Hudda Kattan, for example, who started off as a YouTuber and blogger, and now owns a billion-dollar business. Each youtube video she uploads will generate tens of thousands of dollars in income. Other individuals who have done extremely well as fashion and beauty bloggers include James Charles (who has in excess of 16 million followers on his channels), and Bretman Rock.
The owners and managers of these blogs have built up a following that runs into millions across the globe. The key questions for bloggers looking to follow in their footsteps are: how do I create content people want to watch? How do I grow my channel? When and how do I monetise my channel for optimal success? We consider each of these questions in turn, providing the information you need to start earning!
How do I create content people want to watch?
Creating content that gets attention involves using a number of different techniques. Bloggers need to shape not only the style and subject of the content, but also how it's presented and the keywords that go into it. Additional work involves link placement, capturing feedback, and responding to audience participation in order to provide more of what your viewers are looking for.
A good starting point is to know your audience and do your research. Obviously, it makes sense to create content that's likely to appeal, and that also adds value to what's already out there. If your primary aim is to monetise, consider the topics that are most likely to generate possibilities to deliver additional income. Topics such as fashion, beauty, celebrity gossip, finance, and gaming are highly competitive areas to blog in, but do command a large audience. Conversely, niche blogs may not gather such high numbers of followers, but those that are interested may be more likely to spend money on the content, simply because there won't be as much of it out there.
Remember that content isn't just text: audiences love videos and images. A long read will usually put people off. Eye-catching headlines and plenty of visuals, SEO keywords, links, and invitations to engage need to be part of every blog post, no matter what medium it's created in.
How do I grow my channel?
Stunning content is only going to make you money if people know about it. In the first instance, blogs can be brought to the attention of viewers in a number of different ways. These include the use of SEO through careful placement of keywords and good use of links (the more links a site has, the better its search engine rankings). Using your social media platforms to publicise your blogs is also a good way to get your message out there.
A priority is to persuade the readers you get to share and comment on your content. The more interaction there is with your blog post, the wider its reach. In addition, search engines will home in on the engagement, helping to make your blog more visible. When a member of your audience finds your content, it's not enough for them just to view it: part of a monetisation strategy needs to be persuading the viewer to subscribe to your channel or sign up to receive email updates or similar. Gaining access to contact information enables you to keep in touch with your audience. From telling them about new material through to informing them of offers, products and content that's going to make their lives better, gathering contact information is pivotal to success.
Once you have begun to gather a subscribing audience or email sign-ups, make sure that their positive behaviour towards your blog is rewarded. It's vital that your audience is entertained and informed, or engagement will drop.
How do I monetise my blog?
There are a number of different methods that can be used to monetise a blog. The type of monetisation strategy you use depends on the type of blog you have, your audience, and your goals. Typical ways to monetise a blog include:
- Charging a subscription fee to view premium content, or to take advantage of services that aren't available for free via your regular blogging.
- Advertising, for example through using AdSense or similar.
- Affiliate marketing. This is where you use your blog to promote or advertise a business. The business then pays you for every sale they make through your audience clicking through to the business's site from your page.
- Selling digital products (such as software or e-books).
- Creating sponsored posts. A sponsored post is one that is paid for by a third party. For example, a beauty blogger might be invited to create a review of a new skincare range. They would receive a fee from the skincare manufacturer for doing this.
- Selling merchandise (for example, some gaming bloggers sell T-shirts, hats, fluffy toys, or similar, advertising their brand).
- Providing items to download and print off (these could be anything from information sheets through to puzzles, journals, and similar).
When is the best time to start monetising?
The answer to this question is that it depends on the type of monetisation you're considering. Bloggers can begin to generate revenue from advertising very early on - if you're signed up with AdSense, for example, you can begin to monetise from Day 1. It's also possible to set up a relationship with affiliate companies from the start. Remember that, because your audience is likely to be small initially, you're not going to generate much income from these sources to begin with.
Many commentators suggest that you shouldn't consider other forms of monetisation until you've gathered at least a thousand followers. This makes sense when you realise that other monetisation methods require either an initial outlay or need a reasonable following in order to be viable: no company is going to pay for a sponsored post intended to boost their online presence if it's only going to be viewed by a few hundred subscribers, for example. Realistically this means that the first six months to a year of blogging is unlikely to see your efforts translate into much income.
In the early months of blogging, the priorities are two-fold: creating top-rate content that genuinely does give your audience something of value (this is the lynchpin of successful blogging, and can't be emphasised enough - your audience are not stupid, and there is no way they will engage with you if your content isn't absolutely stellar), and using a variety of methods to bring content to the notice of your audience at the same time as making engagement and sharing as straight-forward as possible. Once your list of email subscribers is nudging over the thousand mark (as an absolute minimum), it may be time to consider additional ways to monetise your blog.
Note that monetisation need not directly involve your audience: engage and delight them, and there will be plenty of opportunities to monetise through advertising, affiliates and sponsored work.
Following these guidelines will optimise the chances of your blog netting you, at worst, a few hundred dollars a month. At best, the sky's the limit!