A question frequently asked by nearly everyone in the blog industry – "Can I make money off of this?". At some point, blogging becomes less of a hobby and more of a business. It can always be both, but at some point concessions will need to be made in the form of sponsors or advertisements in order to earn money via the blog trade. The short answer to the question is yes, money can be made from both personal blogs and blogs dealing with certain subjects. There are quite a number of methods to do this, all with individual pros and cons which must be weighed, as well as how commercial a blog is looking to become.
As mentioned briefly above, sometimes a blog can find some sort of sponsor. This is usually an agreement between the blogger and a certain company who pays a monthly fee in return for ad space, a blogger to recommend a certain product, or a blogger to post their experiences with a product, though usually it’s implied this experience would be positive. Companies are willing to pay bloggers to recommend their products as it lends a personal touch, especially when the blogger may actually be using their products. Popular bloggers with many readers will obviously earn more money from these offers. These types of offers may also be generally limited to the bigger blog sites as smaller blogs don’t hold much sway with a large number of people.
Another option for earning money from blogs is individual advertisers. Companies or individuals who wish to advertise their site or services may offer to place an ad or link somewhere on a blog in return for some sort of compensation. This compensation could either be pay per click, pay per impression (payment is given every time someone simply views the ad), or pay per action, where visitor must perform some sort of action for the blog site to get paid. This is usually signing up for a service or purchasing a product. Sometimes advertisers will simply pay a flat fee each money irregardless of ad performance. This method of advertising requires interaction with advertisers on a continual basis. If a site features many ads, sometimes it can be considerably difficult to keep track of, especially if a different deal is involved with each individual advertiser. While 10 checks every month may be quite gratifying, it can be quite confusing also! Sometimes individual advertisers are also hard to find. Just as a blog site doesn’t want to deal with a handful of different advertisers, large companies don’t want to deal with small web sites on a one-to-one basis.
Like the above option, putting ads on a blog can be highly profitable. Instead of dealing with individual advertisers, another method exists. A blogger can sign up for an advertising program such as Google’s AdSense. A small bit of code is placed somewhere, and the advertising links are all controlled via the program. The blogger has very little to do besides sign up and place the code on the web site. Every month, the revenue will be sent to the blogger via a check. Payment, like above, could be based off of click-throughs, impressions etc. Keep in mind that each programs terms should be studied in detail. Sometimes there is a minimum threshold for monthly payment. Also, sometimes there’s rules regarding posting of competitors ads – for example, adding one’s own advertisers in addition to the ad program. It’s always better to ask questions than not receive a check because you violated the rules!
Similar to individual advertisers, affiliate programs are usually deals with individual companies. Lots of large internet vendors offer affiliate programs (i.e., Amazon, eBay etc.) as well as more targeted companies depending on the blog’s topic. These companies usually pay a percentage of the sales that are referred to them via a blog. For example, say a program pays 10% of sales. Bob visits a blog and sees an ad for ABZ Books. He goes to that site, and purchases $62 worth of books. The referring blog would receive $6.20. This would be most effective on a book blog, however. Attempting to sell books on a blog about politics may not be the best option (unless they’re political books). Keep in mind that the quality of the products the affiliate is selling factors into this considerably. Selling get-rich-quick schemes or coffee mugs may not generate much revenue for a blog.
Sometimes a blog can be a very useful tool to sell your own products. Imagine owning a t-shirt business. Instead of relying simply on word of mouth or traditional advertising to sell t-shirts, a blog could be setup dedicated to the t-shirt industry. Perhaps costs, printing techniques, or individual ideas or concepts could be discussed and blogged about. Readers who are interested in the topics or content of the blog may in turn buy products from the business. This is certainly one example, but there’s plenty of ways in which a blog would be beneficial in selling products. This could also work in the opposite direction so to speak. An active business could easily promote a new blog to attract initial readers. A potential business could even sponsor a blog as mentioned above.
The ideas mentioned above are the main categories of advertising that exist for a blog. Each category has many opportunities in each, and what’s right for a blog must be looked at by a case by case example. It also doesn’t hurt to try each of these out to determine what works best, both in ease and return for a profit each month. All of these ideas mentioned above certainly have the possibility of turning simple hobby into a career, or simply making a few dollars on the side.
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