It is possible to generate an income from a blog, and there are a number of ways to do it.
It is best if you have a niche blog about a specific topic or interest. Personal blogs that are general in nature are harder to grow an audience for since there is little focus on a particular topic, and unless you lead a very fascinating life, not everyone will want to hear about your daily routine.
Before beginning, you may want to consider what your goals are and how much effort you want to put into this. If you want a couple extra bucks, then that isn’t too hard. If you want to live off of it, that will take a lot more effort.
Once you decide what your blog will be about, we can get started on creating the blog and generating revenue.
How do I generate revenue from a blog?
There are actually two parts to this question:
- How do I generate traffic and create an audience?
- How do I monetize that traffic and audience?
The second part of the equation being relatively easy compared to the first part.
Part 1: Attract an Audience
- Create new quality content on a regular basis (daily, 2 times a week, weekly, biweekly). The more often, the better. But it is important that you set a schedule, so people know something new is coming on a regular basis. (Search engines also love regularly updated sites.)
- Have a social media presence on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Add LinkedIn if you are talking about professional topics. Add Instagram & Pinterest if you add a lot of original photos. Add other social networks your target audience might be active on.
- If possible, set it up so that it automatically posts to your social media accounts every time you create a new blog post. WordPress has this built in, and other content management systems may have plugins for this.
- Make sure sharing buttons are activated on your account, so people can share your content.
- Participate in forums and other online communities, and if allowed, add a link back to your blog in your forum signature and online profile. Be sure to only post quality posts, otherwise you will frighten away a potential audience instead of attract them, and could get yourself banned.
Part 2: Monetize Your Blog
- If you have enough traffic and some content already in place, then ad networks like Google AdSense would be a great passive way to make money on the website. If your traffic grows to a huge level, then you may even be able to sell ads directly on your website.
- Affiliate programs that match your niche also can work well if promoted right. Un-targetted ads usually fail miserably, so only promote affiliate offers if they match your content well.
- The most profitable thing to do would be to create your own information product or a service you can offer, and use your blog to advertise that. Your blog then becomes an advertising tool for your real offering.
Things Not to Do
- Do not sell links on your website for the purpose of SEO. It may be tempting money, but the search engines hate it, and if they find out about it, they will penalize you.
- Do not apply for an affiliate program or to an ad network (such as AdSense) if you do not have any content yet. They will look at your website as part of the approval process.
- Do not expect instant traffic from search engines, and do not be dependent on search engine traffic. Search engine traffic can be fickle. Great if you got it, but it should not be your only source of traffic. Instead, you want to build a loyal audience. Those are the people who will come back again and again no matter what you rank in the search engines. And you do that by delivering great content regularly.
A Good Start
This should give you a good start on how to generate revenue from a blog. In addition to the advice above, I would recommend learning about SEO and checking your analytics regularly (such as through Google Analytics, StatCounter or other similar products). The more you can learn about your audience, and are able to write your quality content in a way that is found and enjoyed, the better.
Hope that helps and good luck!
P.S. If you create great content and attract a loyal audience, search engines will actually give you more traffic.
Image by Stuart Miles and courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.