How to Make Money with a Blog
Make Money by Blogging!
One of the best ways for students to make some extra cash is to blog. It sounds crazy, but blogging can actually pay. It’s kind of like killing two birds with one stone: You’re making money to pay for your wild nights out and food bills – but you’re also having fun at the same time. Making it as a successful blogger isn’t easy – if it was everyone would be at it – but it’s definitely possible.
Sell advertising space & sponsored links
Perhaps the easiest way to monetize your blog is to sell advertising space and sponsored links. Companies will pay lots of money to have their banners placed on blogs that get a lot of traffic. They may not always come to you though, so you’ll have to do a bit of research and identify some companies who you think might benefit from advertising on your blog. If for example you run a blog dedicated to fashion and celebrities, you might want to contact a company such as Very.co.uk about advertising on your website.
As well as banner ads, a lot of companies like to place text links on third party blogs like yours. Most of these links just say “Check out XXXX company”. They’re small and very discrete in most cases – some companies will pay big bucks for a tiny text link.
It’s up to you how to negotiate when it comes to selling advertising space and sponsored links on your site. It’s a good idea to have a rough idea of pricing in mind – and it’s also a good idea to be receptive to knocking down your price in some circumstances. For example, if you charge £10 per month for a banner ad and a company comes along offering you £200 for a permanent banner ad, getting that money up front could help your finances enormously.
If you don’t have the time to approach companies about advertising on your blog, you can always use an advertising network like Google’s AdSense. It’s really easy to sign up with an account with AdSense, and it’s really easy to put the advertisements on your website. AdSense allows you to track ad units and URLs, so you can see which adverts on your site get the most clicks. It comes with some really nifty reporting options and tools.
With AdSense you can pick between displaying media ads and text ads – or you can just display a mixture of the two. You can also select URLs for third party sites whose ads you wouldn’t like displayed on your blog. AdSense is a very versatile advertising tool, and it’s a great way to monetize a website. A few hundred page views per day can result in big AdSense payouts at the end of each month.
One word of warning is that AdSense are hot on the heels of “click fraudsters” – so don’t even consider it. They will catch you, and when they do they’ll ban your AdSense account. It’ll then be impossible for you to create a new one in the future. The final thing to note is that AdSense payments are disbursed directly into your bank account at the end of each month, which is really handy.
Try Affiliate Links
Affiliate marketing is a huge industry so we won’t talk about it too much in this article – that said, affiliate links can prove very profitable on niche blogs. If you have a blog covering the topic of tattoos for example, you might want to add some affiliate links to tattoo guns and tools, or even tattoo design books and galleries.
There are many different affiliate programs and companies out there including Amazon Associates, Clickbank and so on. You’ll find you can make money from a mixture of physical products, and digital products such as eBooks and guides.
There’s a lot of money to be made through affiliate links, but it’s only for the taking if the affiliate deals you offer are directly relevant to your visitors. For example, if you run a blog about why it’s great to be a student, there’s little point promoting an affiliate scheme for airport parking, even if the payouts are great. You need to ensure any affiliate promotions are geared directly at your visitors – they have to be relevant.
For more information on how to make money through affiliating marketing, you can read my personal affiliate blog, AffiliateFYI.com, here!
CPA works too!
CPA stands for “cost per action”. The action can be anything from a simple email address submit, or a complete postal address submit. Promoting CPA has become less fashionable over the years, but it’s still a great way to monetize a blog.
If you run a tech blog for example you can make a lot of money by promoting those CPA ads that give users the chance to win an iPad or iPhone. Each person who completed the offer will result in you earning a couple of pounds. There are several good CPA companies out there including MaxBounty and PeerFly.
Promoting CPA certainly isn’t for every blog owner – but if you can find some CPA deals directly related to your audience, it can be a good money spinner.
In order to make money, you need a following!
It’s all well and good rubbing your hands together at the thought of untold riches thanks to the monetization techniques I’ve discussed above. The problem is however, you actually need a following on your blog and real visitors for any of the above methods to work. Without visitors or blog traffic you won’t earn a penny.
Building a blog following is quite easy nowadays, especially if you have lots of friends on social media. Promoting your blog via your Facebook or Twitter account can send a torrent of traffic your way. There are also blogging clubs and organizations that you can join – whereby you recommend someone else’s blog, and they’ll recommend yours. This can help your blog traffic grow exponentially. Another way of getting good blog traffic is to comment on blogs in the same niche as yours and leave a link back to your site.
If things go well you could end up raking in cash. Make sure you stay on the right side of the law when it comes to declaring your income and paying tax on it. All of the monetization methods discussed above leave a paper trail – so don’t for one minute assume you can get away without paying your fair share of tax. As soon as you start to turn over real money on your blog, you need to register as self employed with HMRC.
Domains, hosting & free blog platforms
When you’re on a tight student budget the last thing you want to be doing is blowing ten pounds per month on hosting, and a similar amount on a domain. Although the cost of hosting and a domain can quickly pay themselves off, if you’re unsure as to how long you’ll be able to maintain your blog for, you can always use a free alternative.
Platforms like WordPress.com and Blogspot.com offer completely free blogs for people like you. They’re a great way to start your blogging career – if you decide you’re in it for the long haul you can always upgrade to a standalone domain and hosting at a later point.
Making money through blogging only works if you’re dedicated – and it only works if you actually enjoy what you’re writing about. Typically blogs with a theme do better than random personal blogs – blogs with a theme can become an authority voice in their respective niche.
If you spend a lot of time blogging, now’s the time to start making some money. If you’ve never tried blogging, grab a free blog and get started today!