A new blog is created every second of every day. Now I am no mathematician, but even with my rudimentary skills I can tell you that’s a heck of a lot of sites. At the same time, prominent bloggers like Young House Love and mom blog royalty, Dooce, are are leaving the industry. It’s no surprise one of the most common questions I am asked is, can you still make a living blogging?Yes. The short answer is yes. The longer answer resides within the development of three specific areas: branding, work ethic and a diversified income stream.
Unique Voice and Strong Personal Brand
There will always be opportunity for an individual with a strong, unique voice. They key? Honing in on your voice quickly and building a strong personal brand.
When I first started hosting blogger education in 2009, the creative niche was still relatively small. About 175 bloggers attended the first conference, which at the time constituted large portion of active professional craft bloggers. Today we host more than 500 bloggers each year and while we pick up a large percentage of the bloggers who are financially successful in the maker niche, we don’t even pull in a quarter of the industry’s professional bloggers.
Gone are the days when posting on a general “lifestyle” blog could be counted on as a launching pad for success. Choosing a niche and fortifying a strong personal brand around what makes you special in that space is no longer just good advice. It’s nearly mandatory for success.
I’d love to have you share what makes YOUR voice unique. Will you share it with me in the comments?
Bloggers are more sophisticated than they were even five years ago. Blog design is clean and crisp, photographs are outstanding and bloggers are socially savvy. It’s not easy to carve out a space on the internet and make a name for yourself. It takes time to build your audience.
While creating good content takes time in and of itself, most bloggers struggle because they don’t realize that at least three fourths of their time will be spent planning, brand and sponsor negotiations, site design and upkeep, networking and social media promotion. Looking to make a full-time income on your site? Expect to put in full time hours.
There are a number of ways that bloggers make money, but those who are the most successful have a diversified income stream. Here are a few of the ways bloggers are making money:
Display Advertising – Display advertising are images and graphics often placed in the header, sidebar and footer of a blog. They are often serviced by ad networks like: Google AdSense, BlogHer, Federated Media, Rivit and Sovrn (along with many, many more), in exchange for a share of the revenue.
For more information on display ads, be sure to check out Pro Blog School’s exhaustive resource on How to Make Money Using Ad Networks.
Private Advertising – Private advertising is similar to display advertising serviced by ad networks in terms of placement, but they are managed and sold by the individual blog owner. Often they take the form of sidebar buttons and start at about $50 a month.
Affiliate sales are a type of performance based marketing. A blogger promotes an advertiser’s product or service in exchange for earning a commission. Popular affiliate partners include: Amazon, CJ and Share-a-Sale.
Sponsored content, often referred to as native advertising, is advertising content presented in a way that closely fits the tone and style of the blog where it is shown. A blogger is paid to showcase a product on their site in the form of a review or tutorial style post.
Products and Services
Many bloggers have branched out and now offer products and consulting services in conjunction with their blog. In some cases bloggers are working in conjunction with manufacturers to develop product, while in others they are simply licensing their name and likeness. Other bloggers have taken advantage of their platform to sell books, courses and consulting services.
In many cases, blogs have become the hub for an individual brand. Bloggers are thinking beyond advertising and sponsored posts to launch programs and products from the very platform that first generated interest. Their blog.
Now I’d love to answer your questions. What would you like to know about making a career out of a blog? Are you a blogger considering a product or service? Maybe you already offer something? Leave me a comment and let me know!