Blogging is a lot of fun. It’s an opportunity for you to speak your mind to often total strangers who value your passion and what you have to say. However, for anyone who has spent some time blogging, they also know that it is a huge commitment. Finding the moments in your day to dedicate to creating content or responding to emails can be very difficult, and this often leads bloggers to feel frustrated, as they get the sense they are never spending enough time on their blog.

Well, there’s a solution to this: turn your blog into a source of income. If you can start making some money with your blog, even just a little bit per month, this not only helps to ease the process of covering your monthly expenses, but it also could provide that necessary push to help you get in front of the computer working on your blog when you just don’t feel like you have time for it.

However, turning your blog into something that makes money is a process. You need to understand how blogs make money and what you can be doing to turn yours into a source of revenue. Here are some pointers to get you on your way:

Traffic, traffic and more traffic

Before going into specific ways to make money, consider that the most important thing you need to do to make your blog profitable is to drive consistent traffic to it. There are three main ways you can do this:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Paid traffic
  • Email lists

Of these three, SEO is really the best, as it brings people directly from their Google search to your site. You’ll want to do some research as to what people are looking up as related to what you write about, produce some content optimized for these search terms and then work to have other bloggers link to your piece so that Google will rank you favorably.

This is a little easier said than done, but many bloggers don’t automatically include this type of content in their blog, and it’s an important first step to getting yours to make some money.

Paid traffic can come later, when you have a better idea as to who your target audience is. It tends to be effective because it brings the most relevant people to your site, but in the beginning, you run the risk of spending money on nothing.

Your email list will become useful after you’ve grown your audience. It’s how you get in touch with people who have come to the site and liked it, serving as a way to bring them back to engage with you.

Ways to make money

Now that you have an idea as to how to increase traffic, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can actually turn your site into a source of revenue:

Sell ad space

This was the original way that blogs made money. You simply sell space on your site to people who are interested in reaching the audience you serve. However, the margins for this are rather small, as you usually only get paid when people either click on the advertisement or when they purchase something after clicking.

Still, if you are able to drive large amounts of traffic to your site, this is a great way to bring in a little extra money without having to do too much.

Become an affiliate marketer

This has become perhaps the most popular way to make money with a blog, and there’s one big reason why: it works. Affiliate marketing is essentially the same as being an online salesperson. You review, recommend, offer, etc. a product that is relevant to your audience, and then when they make a purchase, you get a small commission. Amazon and Google both have affiliate programs, but there are countless other options you can choose from.

This works great because it plays on the authority you gain as a blogger. People already trust what you have to say, and so when you offer them products you’ve reviewed or researched they will trust this endorsement and will therefore be more willing to make a purchase. But since commissions are small, this is where it’s important to drive lots of traffic. To make real money, you need to make a lot of sales

Sell your own products

The last main way people make money with their blog is by selling their own products. For bloggers, this usually comes in the form of eBooks, courses or consulting services, as these are things that don’t require any procurement or shipping, and that also rely on the authority you’ve built up with your audience. The margins on these products tend to be through the roof, but you need to be in a great position with your audience to be able to make it work.

The takeaway

Gone are the days of spending hours and hours on your blog with no return to speak of. While you should always blog for the joy of it, if you take into consideration what’s been discussed today, you can easily turn your blog into a nice source of side income, or perhaps your entire livelihood.

About the author: Jock is the founder of Digital Exits, an online brokerage service that specializes in the buying/selling of online businesses. He got his start as a blogger, and through the work he does now, he helps other bloggers who have built their sites into profitable ventures sell for significant amounts of money. You can find some of his writing on this subject featured in Forbes, CNBC, Entrepreneur and Business Insider.

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