I have been blogging for a long time now. I started before it was the thing and it was until years later that I realized that I could make money blogging while blogging about whatever it was I wanted to blog about. Times have changed, and so has my blog. You can still blog about whatever you want, and you can still make money doing it. However, one of the things I’ve learned over the years is that you can blog less and make more money.
How to Blog Less and Make More
Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? Applying this rule to blogging, we’d say 20 percent of your efforts should produce 80 percent of your income. That might sound pretty crazy, and nearly impossible, especially when you first start blogging.
Have a well-defined niche.
I don’t really like the term “niche”, and I’m not a huge fan of having to squeeeeze into a box. The truth is, though, that niches make money. If someone visits your blog because you’re the recipe blog, you’re going to make more money than if someone visits your lifestyle blog just because they like you. Why? Because if they’re visiting for no particular reason, you’re obviously going to make less than if they’re visiting your blog because they know they want to shop (or learn more, which ends in shopping, usually).
Deliver awesome content.
I’m pretty sure this goes without saying, but I want to say it anyway. The only way to have a successful, profitable blog is to deliver awesome content, day in and day out.
Part of delivering awesome content means writing longer posts. Give your readers the “meat” they’re craving. When you write a post, research the topic well so you can provide enough content to teach them what they want to learn.
Divide your posts up into subheadings, using bold and italic here and there, so it’s easy to read and scan. The attention span of your average reader isn’t very long, so you’ve gotta make sure it’s interesting to keep them on your blog.
There is no substitute for high-quality content. If you don’t have the time to write it, hire it out.
Build a solid email list.
From Day 1, you need to start building an email list. I can’t tell you how many bloggers skipped this step when creating their blogs. Now, months or years down the line, they’re kicking themselves and having to start from scratch.
To start building an email list, I recommend creating a freebie and offering it as an incentive for signing up. This freebie can be an ebook, a PDF “quick sheet”, a few recipes… anything that relates to your site, really. Get your readers interested in your content, and they’ll sign up for your newsletter. Send the newsletter out every week, without fail. When you skip weeks, you’re more likely to have unsubscribes when you resume sending newsletters.
Have multiple income streams.
Don’t rely on one stream of income, like ad networks. AdSense went through a period where they were banning bloggers left and right, which means those that relied on the ad network for their entire income (or even the majority of it) were in big trouble when they got banned and weren’t paid. Avoid putting yourself in a situation like that by creating multiple streams of income.
Streams of income can come from ad networks like AdSense, but can also come from privately sourced ads. Many companies will contact you asking how much you charge for ad space. Figure out your rates (it’s usually based on traffic – which comes full circle to writing better content), and have a general email you send in response to these inquiries.
Another way many bloggers make money is by utilizing affiliate networks. You can become an affiliate with some companies directly, or you can join ShareASale and have access to thousands and thousands of companies all at once.
Besides ads and affiliates, you can do sponsored posts through networks like Massive Sway, Influence Central, and Social Fabric. Pitching companies for reviews, sponsored posts, and ambassadorships is something you can do after you have a bit of a social following. You don’t want to pitch when you first start, as you don’t really have much to offer in the way of value for exposure. However, as you grow, you most definitely can reach out to companies and ask to work with them! They’re usually happy to hear from bloggers.
Offering services and selling products is a good way to build a solid income base, too. I am a Virtual Assistant, and as I build my blog, I also build my client base. I’ve seen bloggers have good results by writing ebooks, designing and selling courses, and opening up their own Etsy shop. How you monetize and build your income streams really depends on what you are passionate about. Ebooks take a lot of time to write; courses take a lot of time to design, so whatever you choose as your income stream, just realize that you’ll have to put quite a bit of work in up front to reap the rewards later.