The last relevant statistic you can find online, created in 2011 by Statista claims that at the time, over 173 million blogs existed in the world. Taking into account that some of them might have gone out of business and loads more have been created, we can easily think that by 2019 there will be at least over 250 million. This is surely a very scary statistic for even the biggest optimists amongst us, so it there still a profit to be made from this?
Owning a profitable blog – fact or fiction?
Earning a decent living from owning a blog is still very much possible, however, given the fact that the competition is much higher nowadays, and that times have changed massively, you need to think out of the box and come up with better solutions to increase traffic and drive revenue. If you’re thinking about starting a blog, you should probably have a look at our post about keeping sane while working from home.
Owning a blog in 2010 was much easier. As long as you created top quality content on a consistent basis, handled your social sharing right, and placed a couple of Adsense codes on your site, reaching a decent MRR of at least $3000 was something that was easily accessible.
How to monetize?
To make sure you stay on top of modern times you need to adapt. That means that now Adsense is less appealing since revenue for clicks has dropped given the fact that they’re already virtually all over the web. Your ideal target now should be completely different, focused on partnerships and alternative revenue strings.
1. Selling backlinks.
Sure, this is a practice that (if identified) can be harshly penalized by Google, so don’t go around advertising you do this. However, if you manage to do this in such a way that you keep risks at a minimum, this can be a very sustainable revenue source.
2. Selling Promotional posts.
Less risky and perhaps more rewarding, selling promotional posts to companies who are selling products from the same niche as your blog, can be a great strategy. Let’s say that you’re running a beauty blog. If you manage to prove your worth (good subscriber base, good reader base) to companies selling beauty products, you can easily ask $400 – $500 per post to promote certain products.
3. Newsletter ad slot sales
A common practice for many publishers is to sell ad slots in their weekly or monthly newsletter push. If you’re not yet doing email marketing, you’re definitely losing out on revenue and engagement. A good place to start with that with no coding knowledge is the BigBangThemes email builder. If you’re not sure what this would require from a resource point of view, this is a good place to start.
4. Direct ad sales.
Much like promotional posts, but with ad spaces this time. Selling ad slots directly to the source can be way more profitable than Adwords. Contact companies selling products from your niche and offer your ad spaces to them for a fixed (or flexible) monthly fee. By flexible, I mean that some bloggers choose to bill their clients based on the number of impressions their ads get.
If you’re not sure how to find the person behind a brand or company, thankfully there’s a really quick tool you can use to find out the email behind each brand or website that’s called Etools.
How to drive traffic?
This is where you need to get serious. Without a healthy base of traffic, none of the solutions provided above will be any good. If you’re just starting out, the best tip is to obviously not compromise on content quality. If you’re doing this well enough, things like social media and word of mouth will bring huge value.
After you’ve built enough credibility try looking for blog syndicator sites. Places that list great quality content, like Flipboard, Google News or BBC to name a few. Getting accepted on Google News, for example, will be huge for your blog and can be the difference between a few thousand visitors per month and up to a million depending on your content.
Keep building quality content and success will come. Don’t expect this to be a quick recipe to becoming a millionaire, but earning a decent living online can be achieved fairly quickly if you put in enough effort.