Here's what I think about blogging for profit

Blogging for profit | Here's what I think about monetizing a blog

Here’s what I think about blogging for profit

Gather round, it’s story time!

I was at an event recently where one of the speakers was talking about the “insane, seriously mind-blowing” income you can make from blogging and how everyone should become a blogger. The way he was talking about it, you’d think that blogging was the fastest way to riches. He made big claims and many people in the audience wanted to know how they could go about doing this too.

The whole conversation made me very uncomfortable because in my opinion, this guy was full of hot air and was misleading people with his story. I have no doubt that he (and many other full-time bloggers) is crushing it and bringing in major cash every month from his blog. Top earning bloggers like him have huge followings and their sites receive tons of traffic every day. Because of this, they are able to command very high fees to partner with brands, accept product sponsorships, participate in campaigns, etc. 

But that’s not normal and if truth be told, most people cannot expect those results from blogging. There are literally hundred of thousands of bloggers out there (millions, probably?) who might bring in some money from their blog every month, but they will never have the kind of earnings that this blogging ~*superstar*~ promised.

Through my business and client work, I’ve worked with brands on influencer outreach, which usually means getting bloggers or influencers to help promote a brand. Sometimes it can be profitable for both sides and it’s a transaction that feels good. However, in many cases, brands will approach me and/or my clients because they want us to promote their products/services/events/whatever for free or basically free, in exchange for “exposure”. This is annoying and hardly ever worth it.

On the flip side, bloggers can be paid for this work and they can sometimes charge a substantial fee. So while it is possible to make lots of money through blogging alone, it’s NOT something I recommend people get into unless they are willing to play the long game.

Newbie bloggers should know that getting to a high enough level where you can start charging high fees and making real money through your blog takes a long time. You cannot just start a blog and expect that within days you will be able to make money through ads, sponsorships, affiliates, etc. And while you might want to reach out to brands directly and propose working together, they probably won’t take you up on your offer until you have built up an audience…which again, takes time. Trust me, blogging is a LOT of work for little reward in the early stages.

Related : How to set up a blog on a Squarespace website - video tutorial

If you are looking to start a business based solely around a blog (which is traditionally monetized through ads, sponsored content, and affiliates), you have to recognize that this might not be the best way to make money and earn a living. It's a hard and slow slog and there is zero guarantee that it will pay off the way you hope.

But don’t panic, all is not lost! Monetizing your blog is totally possible, but it probably won’t happen in the way you think it will. Let’s take a look at why this is.

The new blogging rules

As mentioned above, the “old” blogging model should not be your focus if you want to monetize and actually make money in the near future.

Instead, I recommend going about things slightly differently if you want real results and cash in your bank account.

Nowadays, blogging works best alongside another income stream because this way you have a much better chance of financial survival. Think of your blog as a section of your website and brand, but not the only part of it!

Related : Why every website needs a blog, yours included

Blogging is just one of countless ways you can monetize a website or start an online business, so why wouldn’t you diversify? There are so many ways that you can make money online and it’s crazy to focus solely on blogging and not try out any other options. 

If your goal is to be a full-time blogger but you’re starting from zero, you should definitely have a reliable stream of income coming in from somewhere else. Until you get to the point where your blog can fully support you, you need to have some sort of money to live on. This income could be your savings, support from you family/partner, a 9-5 job, freelance income, or (my favourite of all), creative ways that you can monetize your blog right from the start.

Creative ways to monetize, yayyyyy! I am HERE for this and want to share my thoughts with you too.

Creative ways to monetize your blog

Alright, so we’ve already established that making money solely from “blogging” is HARD and takes hella long to ramp up. But don’t worry, my friend, there's still hope!

It’s time to think outside of the box and come up with ways you can monetize your blog or website in other ways. 

The goal here is to come up with income stream(s) that :

  • earn money right away (think: short term)
  • works with small traffic
  • complements and supports the content you are creating for your blog

Now, hold up a minute before you start crying to me that you have no clue what that means or what you can offer! 

If you have or want to start a blog (or website, for that matter), you are a creative. There are ideas swirling around your head and you are ready to try them out. You’ve got something to share, a unique point of view, and a fresh take on things, and a blog is the perfect place to get those ideas out into the world.

Take that creativity and run with it! Get creative, make things, create content, and start selling something.

Because guess what: while all those ideas might flow easily to you, they are the exact thing that someone else is struggling with. And people are willing to pay for what you’ve created.

Don’t get hung up feeling like you aren’t experienced enough or that you don’t know how to get started. Nobody does in the beginning!

Start before you’re ready
— Steven Pressfield

That quote has been one of the biggest motivators for me and my business and I know it can help light a fire under your butt too. 

Start where you are with what you have, and learn and pivot as needed. 

Creative blog monetization ideas

Now is the time to push through your limiting beliefs (sorry if that’s a little woo-woo, but it’s true!) and come up with ways that you can monetize your blog that AREN’T strictly blogging.

But at the same time, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel!

Consider the scope of your blog/website, what type of content you’re creating and who you’re blogging for. You’re sharing loads of information so ask yourself how you can package it all together in a way that you can charge for it?

Here are a few ideas:

  • digital product
  • online course
  • group or individual coaching
  • consulting 
  • physical products
  • membership site

These will all take time and effort to create and launch, yes, but they can also start earning you money today! Compare that to blogging which will probably take months (or longer) to earn your first dollar. 

Remember that you can monetize your blog or website even if you don’t have a ton of experience. You just need to have something to offer and more experience than the person you’re looking to help. Everyone starts at the beginning and if you want to successfully make money from your website, all it takes is the willingness to learn and brazenness to give it a shot.

How to get started

First thing is first : grab a pen and paper and start brainstorming! What can you build or create TODAY that you can package up and start selling immediately? Your first product/service/offering doesn’t have to be huge or a major undertaking - it’s OK to start small. Write down some ideas and get those creative juices flowing.

Next up, move into the research phase. I always recommend taking a look at what other established figures in your industry are offering and how they are supporting themselves, beyond just their blog. 

You can bet that the big players are monetizing their blogs through advertising, sponsorships, affiliates, etc., but I can almost guarantee that they are experimenting with other income streams as well! Follow their lead and try different methods out. 

Take a look at their blogs/websites and browse around through their offerings. Take a look at what they are doing to make money through their blogs, how they are positioned on their websites, and how they are being promoted. Do they mention it in every blog post? is it on their sidebars? Popups? Take note and put those online creepin' skills to work!

One thing you might notice is that their offerings complement their blogs but they aren’t necessarily the same thing that they started out with. Take a look at my own website & blog as an example! I started out in web design & development (specifically on Squarespace) but my two products are spreadsheets related to business growth and income tracking. These digital products make sense, given the scope of my business, but they aren’t directly related to my main topics. Totally cool and profitable!

Your blog as part of your business

Once you start thinking of your blog as part of a larger online business rather than ‘a blog you hope to monetize’, the sky is the limit to the various income streams you can try out.

You can keep blogging and creating content, but now you will use it as a way to grow your audience and support sales of your offerings. This might start off with one-on-one clients work, but you could also branch out into other digital products, e-books, events, online courses, workshops, guest speaking….and anything else you can imagine!

As your get more experienced and become an established influencer in your niche, your blog will grow and make more money. But until then, take matters into your own hands and start creating diverse income streams today!

Related : Squarespace SEO Series - 9 tips for blogging

Final Thoughts

Blogging for profit is HARD but you can definitely monetize your blog in creative ways in order to start making money today. 

Don’t sit around passively, feeling frustrated that you aren’t making huge amounts of money like other famous bloggers. Instead, take a few ideas and package up whatever you’re an expert in and start charging for it!

This is the new way to blog for profit and it works for everyone.

Now it’s your turn to tell me, what do you think about blogging for profit? How do you monetize your blog? Is your blog part of a larger online business or website, or is it “just a blog” for now? What products or services can you offer TODAY? I’d love to know so leave me a note in the comments below!


LAUNCH YOUR BEST SITE - FREE ECOURSE

Interested in learning more about what it takes to get a website up and running? Sign up for my free 7 day e-course!


Charlotte O'Hara

Vancouver